Plug and Socket

Plugs and Socket Standardization is in action now. in 2017 production and import of non-standard items were banned and from 2019-01-01 on wards such items can not be sold.

National Standard of Plugs and Socket Outlets for your home

Sri Lanka is on her way achieving 100 percent electrification and the next challenge before us is to enhance the quality and safety which comes hand in hand with standards. 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 main causes for electrocution and fire.

That’s where ‘National Standard for Plugs and Socket Outlets’ comes into play, which was introduced by Sri Lankan Government saying that the Type G plug and socket outlet, widely known as the 13 ampere plug and socket outlet, commonly referred to as the “square pin” plug and socket is to be the only national standard in Sri Lanka. With that, The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the electricity sector regulator, announced the implementation of the national standard for plug and socket outlet in Sri Lanka for Non-industrial Applications with the aim of uplifting the safety of electricity consumers.


There are many different types of plugs and sockets that are being used by Sri Lankan households’ and industrialists and variety of methods and devices being adopted by users to make a connection to a wall socket, to which the plug on an appliance does not often fit. These are either imported or manufactured in the country. Most of these devices are unsafe and cause the connection to be unreliable.

There are three main pins that are highly used in Sri Lanka

  • 5 ampere round pin
  • 15 ampere round pin
  • 13-ampere square pin

Unsafe methods used by consumers to connect the plugs with different pins to the sockets due to its inability to be connected. As examples ;

  • Using of non-Standardize Multi Plugs
  • Connecting overloaded electrical appliances simultaneously through one multi plug or through an extension code
  • Usage of non-standardized Extension Code(How to select a standardise extension code )


Unsafe methods also resulted in electrical accidents and damage to property. The cause of most of the fires that have taken place in Sri Lanka is the leakage of electricity. The main causes for electric leaks are;

  • Usage of non- standardized multi plugs
  • Usage of non- standardize Extension Code
  • Non-standardized of electrical wiring(Licensing of Electricians programme )

Introduction of National Standard for Plugs and Socket outlets in Sri Lanka

( National Standard for Plugs and Socket outlets )

With the introduction of National Standard for Plugs and Socket Outlets in Sri Lanka, it is mandatory to manufacture and import electrical appliances which have 13A square pin.

Since the plugs can be easily connected with the sockets there will be no need to use various methods to connect the appliances to the electrical connection.

However the transition to the type G standard plug and socket should not require any premises to be re-wired purely for the purpose of accommodating the new standard, and that the existing wiring may remain until the end of its useful life.

One to one converters will be introduced to the market to make it easier for the consumers who want to connect round pin plugs to connect to a square pin or visa verse.


Wiring of Buildings

The new buildings should be wired according to the newly introduced standard

(Things to consider when complying with the new standard in the home wiring system)


Why did Sri Lanka decide to use the 13-ampere plug and socket as the standard, and not anything else?

Ans: Among the many reasons are that (i) it is already widely used in Sri Lanka, (ii) it is the single standard in more than 29 countries in the world including UK, Ireland, UAE, Singapore and Malaysia, (iii) the rectangular pins make a firm connection with the socket, and (iv) there is a fuse in the plug top, to protect the appliances and wires.

Do we need to replace the wall sockets at our houses with the introduction of the new standard?

Ans: Not necessarily. The 5 ampere (round pin) socket outlets, which are currently in use will not be banned but are allowed to be used until they are worn out or August 2038, whichever is earlier. However, to fix a new appliance to an existing 5-ampere wall socket, a converter is required, because new appliances bought will come with a 13-ampere plug top.

Do we need to replace the wiring system, with the introduction of the new standard?

Ans: No. However, it is advisable that the existing wiring arrangement is assessed by a qualified electrician, to ensure that each circuit is protected with a correctly rated miniature circuit breaker (MCB) or a fuse. This has to be a regular practice.

Do we need to replace the plugs of existing electrical equipment with the introduction of the new standard?

Ans: No. However, a converter will be required to connect an existing 5-ampere plug (round pin) to a 13-ampere socket.

With the introduction of the new standard, what should I look for, when purchasing new electrical equipment?

Ans: When it comes to purchasing small electrical equipment such as mobile phone chargers, table fans, pedestal fans, electric irons, etc, no special consideration would generally be required after 16 August 2018, as they would come with mandatory factory-fitted 13-ampere plugs. However, if your premises have to wire other than for Type G, then a one-to-one converter would be required. Further, as even at present, if you require using an equipment which consumes more than 13 amperes, such as a large air conditioner or an electric cooker, then a dedicated electrical circuit is required.

How will new standards impact building new houses and builders?

Ans: The new standard will not have any adverse effects on new house buildings and builders. Everyone will be using the solitary standard Type G. Hence purchasing sockets outlets is not going to be an issue. The cost analysis conducted by PUCSL comparing the wiring requirements for 5 amperes and 13 amperes, has shown that it is more economical when a house is wired for the 13-ampere system.

What will happen to the plugs and sockets which are already manufactured, or already ordered by retail shops, or already imported and now selling in the market?

Ans: A grace period of one year is allowed for importing non-standard plugs and sockets, bearing in mind the consignments which have already been committed. Another one year until 16th August 2018 is given to sell any type of socket outlets and plugs, manufactured or brought to Sri Lanka before 16th August 2017.

If I want to replace an existing 5 ampere round pin socket on the wall, is it safe to fix a 13-ampere socket to the existing wiring?

Ans: You are right. It is not safe. A special 6 ampere rated Type G socket outlet will be available in the market (similar to the 13-ampere socket outlet in external appearance), and it will have an engraved or embossed marking of “6A max” to distinguish between the 13ampere outlet and 6-ampere outlet.