1.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.
2.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.
3.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.
4.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.
5.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 has wiring other than for Type G, then a one-to-one converter would be required. Further, as even at present, if you require to use an equipment which consumes more than 13 ampere, such as a large air conditioner or an electric cooker, then a dedicated electrical circuit is required.
6.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 ampere and 13 ampere, has shown that it is more economical when a house is wired for the 13 ampere system.
7.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.
8.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 13ampere outlet and 6 ampere outlet.
9.There are numerous adaptors in the market, each with multiple outlets, and we use them. They are of very poor quality. What happens to them ?
Ans: All the unsafe adaptors and “multi-sockets” will be prohibited from 16th August 2017 (import) and from 16th August 2018 (sale). Suppliers and manufacturers will introduce adaptors to connect a 5 ampere (round pin plug) to a 13 ampere (square pin) socket. Similarly, there will be adaptors to connect a 13 ampere (square pin) plug to a 5 ampere (round pin) socket. These will be one to one adaptors, and they have the safety shutter to protect users, especially children.
10.Equally bad, there are extension cords with multiple sockets at the end, and we buy them and use. Some are of very poor quality. What about them?
Ans: Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) will shortly finalise the SLS for extension cords. All extension cords imported or manufactured after 16th August 2017 should conform to the new SLS.