The dependence on devices and appliances has caused an increase in the use of adaptors to accommodate and charge devices which can lead to dangerous situations in households, this is according to the South African Bereau of Standards (SABS) .

The use of adaptors-on-adaptors in one socket can cause electrical fires, short circuits and damage or malfunction of appliances.

SABS reminds South Africans that all buildings built since 2018 must install the new range of approved sockets that has space for several different plugs as well as USB outlets. Old sockets don’t need to be replaced.

Chairperson of the Technical Committee responsible for the development of the specific requirements for plugs, sockets and adaptors at the SABS, Gianfranco Campetti says the new sockets still have space for the old triangle plugs.

“The 164 part 2, which is also 16 amp, same as the 164 part one, the triangular pin, it has got a trapezoid front, it’s like a rectangle with the four corners cut off. And it also has three pins, but the pins are all the same size. The center pin is the earth pin and the two outer pins are the live and neutral. So it’s a much more compact plug. It’s about 15mm wide. So you can fit in one socket-outlet four or six of these 164/2 plugs.”

Campetti says the new plugs and sockets have several safety features. One such feature is that the pins aren’t exposed when putting the plug in the socket as the socket has a protective edge around it.

“Secondly, which is also common in 164 part 1, we have safety shutters. Safety shutters are mandatory. And thirdly the live and neutral pins have an insulating sleeve. So we have three levels of safety built-in with the new standard plug.”

Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator of SABS, says the new sockets and plugs were developed with safety of South Africans in mind.

” We’re trying to minimize electrical fires, equipment malfunctioning and also looking at cost savings down the line.”

Campetti adds that people can have the benefits of the new safety features of the plugs and sockets without spending a fortune.

” Behind your TV set, there is a lot of connections, there you can get very nice cord extension sets which has all these nice sockets on there. So you can plug all your stuff onto one cord extension set, you can fix it to the wall and you got one plug that go into the socket that you got there. Kids play games, they got all sorts of plugs and sockets, so if you give a kid a couple of fixed socket outlets, with the rights sockets on there you will see all those things disappear.”

He again re-iterated that people don’t have to replace the current sockets in their homes or plugs on their appliances as the old plugs will still work on the new sockets.