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New electrical plugs no reason for shock or panic

31 January 2014

Nashira Davids

THERE is no need for shock and panic when new electrical plugs appear on shelves soon.

While the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has adopted new plugs and sockets, this does not mean home owners should rewire their homes or worry about the costs.

“To date there is no decision to make this mandatory,” said Willa Breed, programme manager for electro-technical standards at the SABS .

However the new plugs and sockets – which have smaller pin holes – are “preferred” in new installations.

“The current installation will still be valid for at least the next 20 years,” Breed said.

Adaptors can also be used in existing sockets for new plugs.

She said the new system was safer and more cost effective. And it was “virtually impossible” for children to insert their fingers in the holes.

Tony McDonald, chairman of the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa, said every year electrical fires caused by the existing plugs and sockets cost the country about R500-million in damages.

He also said about 300 people were killed and 1 000 seriously injured in these fires.

“South Africa adopted the British socket, designed in 1913, in about 1930,” McDonald said.

“Britain realised the dangers of the socket and excess materials used and changed to the new standard in 1948. We retained their old standard.”



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