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In general, the main causes of unacceptable lightning flashover rates of overhead transmission lines are a bad shield design or too high footing impedances. The first reason will cause unacceptable shielding failure flashover rates (SFOR); the second one can cause high backflashover rates (BFOR). The lightning flashover rate of a shielded transmission line can be reduced by installing surge arresters. In fact, the rate can be reduced to zero by installing arresters at all phases and all towers of the line, but even if arresters are not installed at all phases, a significant improvement of the lightning performance can be achieved. However, arresters have to be selected to withstand the energy stresses caused by lightning strokes; otherwise, failures could be caused by an excess of energy absorption. This paper is aimed at analyzing the lightning performance improvement of a shielded transmission line that can be achieved after installing metal oxide surge arresters as a function of the number of phases at which they are installed and at estimating the energy absorption capability of the selected arresters.