What Does The New Plug Standard Mean?

Heard of the introduction of the new ZA Plug? Worried you’ll have to now replace all your plug points? We break it down for you.
Compare Guru
2016-12-19
South Africans have heard about the new plug standard, SANS 164-2. But, very few people actually know what it means for them.

Introducing The ZA Plug

Sometimes referred to as the ZA Plug, SANS 164-2 was introduced as the preferred design for electrical plugs and sockets by the SABS since 2013. The standard itself is more than a decade old, however, having been developed as a global plug and socket standard by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
"The plan is for all new installations of plugs and sockets to be the 164-2 standard from around 2015," said South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) SC23B mirror committee chairman Gianfranco Campetti. "However, there could be delays or changes."
The ZA Plug has the same hexagonal design as the Europlug, which is most commonly seen on cellphone chargers. But it also includes an earth pin that is offset from the centre of the plug.

The Roll-Out Of The ZA Plug

The announcement of the ZA Plug as South Africa's recommended plug standard caused quite an uproar. Many people thought that they would have to replace the existing plugs and sockets in their homes. While the ZA Plug is the preferred standard, the SABS has stated that it will not be required that people change over their existing plugs and electrical sockets to the new standard. Most companies still have not included the new plug standard as the default plug on electrical products. Thereby slowing down the adoption of the ZA Plug as the default plug in South Africa. The SABS has stated that the roll-out of the new standard would be gradual and the public would be free to use the current standard. The implementation of a new standard could take 10, 20 or even 50 years.

Benefits Of The ZA Plug

The new plug will have three levels of safety and will be the safest plug point in the world. With only Switzerland's plug points coming close to the same level of safety, according to Campetti. The ZA Plug has multiple benefits including the fact that you won't need an adapter for devices, which use a double insulated two prong plug. It is also cheaper to produce than the current plug standard.