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This paper presents a novel ANN based technique for improving the performance of distance relays against open circuit faults in transmission networks. The results obtained show that a distance relay with the proposed scheme will not only be able to detect the open conductor condition in HVTL but also to locate the place of this fault regardless the value of the pre-fault current loading. Detailed mathematical formulation of the proposed technique is presented. The ANN used in the proposed scheme doesn't impose large time delay to the operation time of the distance relay as it is of simple configuration and trained off-line. There is no need for especial communication schemes as the existing media could work properly for the needs of the proposed technique.