(13-09-2016) – Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, today announced the implementation of a single national standard for plugs and socket outlets in Sri Lanka for non-industrial applications, with the aim of uplifting the safety of electricity customers.

On 16th August 2016, the Government decided that the Type G plug and socket outlet, widely known as the 13 ampere plug and socket outlet, and commonly referred to as the “square pin” plug and socket, would be the only national standard in Sri Lanka. However, the transition to the type G standard plug and socket would not require any premises to be re-wired purely for the purpose of compliance with the new standard, and the existing wiring, according to one of the three standard sockets now in use, may remain until the end of its useful life or 16th August 2038, whichever is earlier.

Similarly, adapters with multiple sockets, universal sockets, as well as extension cords with universal sockets will not be allowed to be imported and manufactured beyond 16th August 2017. Sale of such devices will be prohibited from 16th August 2018.

Effective from 16th August 2016, wiring of new buildings, addition of circuits to existing electrical installations or complete re-wiring of existing buildings, should be done with wiring compatible with the requirements of type G socket outlets, as approved for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, prior to this decision on standardisation, used numerous types of plugs and sockets. The plug on an appliance does not often fit the wall socket. Thus, electricity users adopt a variety of methods and devices such as universal wall sockets, adaptors with multiple sockets, and extension cords with universal sockets, many of which are unsafe, and cause the connection to be unreliable.

Sri Lanka reported about 95 electrocutions in 2015, up from 76 in 2013 and 73 in 2014. Use of various substandard plugs, sockets, electrical accessories, adapters, and extension cords, are one of the many causes of electrocution and fire.

This single standard, proposed by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, received the Cabinet approval on 16 August 2016. It specifies that the Type G would henceforth, be the sole standard for plugs and sockets to be used in Sri Lanka, and to allow the use of non-standard plugs and socket outlets which are sold and installed within the next two years, to the be used until the end of their lifetime, but not beyond 16th August 2038.

The standard was finalised through a wide public consultation process conducted over a period of one year, through which the general public, industrialists, manufacturers, appliance retailers, energy sector experts, state regulatory and standards institutions, and other stakeholders significantly contributed to the decision making process.

This standard is effective from 16th August 2016, the Commission said.

Time Frame

The Commission has issued the following time table for the standardisation of a single plug and socket outlet in Sri Lanka:

•The National Standard for plugs and socket outlets is effective from 16th August 2016.
•The grace period for manufacture, import and sale of non-standard plugs and socket outlets will be as follows:
oManufacture and import of non-standard plugs, socket outlets, adaptors, and extension cords with universal sockets, may continue, but will be banned from 16th August 2017.
oThe sale of appliances carrying non-standard plugs may continue, but will be prohibited from August 16, 2018. Any remaining stocks thereafter, may be sold after being replaced with a Type G plug.
oThe sale of non-standard sockets, adaptors with multiple sockets, and extension cords with universal sockets will be banned from August 16, 2018.
•Through this systematic transition process, the Government expects the country will totally transform to the use of “Type G” plugs and socket outlets by year 2038.