Electrical Plugs and Sockets Campaign​

Saudi Standards for Plugs and Socket Outlets for Household Use

     The Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization issued the standards specifications for plugs and socket-outlets for the first time in 1985, and updated them in 1994, then in 2003 as follows:
  • ​SASO 2203/2003 " Plugs and Socket- Outlets for Household and Similar General Use- 220V"
  • SASO 2204/2003 " Plugs and Socket- Outlets for Household and Similar General Use- 127V"
  • SASO 443/2003 "Testing Methods for Plugs and Socket Outlets for Household and Similar General Use- for Voltages Up to 220V"
  • The Gulf Standards Organization adopted Standards No. (2203 and 443) and issued them under No. (GSO 1840 and GSO 1841).

The most important safety requirements included in the Saudi standards specifications:

      Above mentioned  Saudi standards specifications set strict conditions for consumers' safety, which are summarized below:
  1. ​Voltages 127 and 220 shall not be confused; i.e., the construction of a 220V socket-outlet  shall not allow a 127V plug to be inserted, and vice versa.
  2. A third terminal is required in plugs and socket-outlets to earth metallic parts not carrying the current, which may become electrified if the insulation breaks down. It shall be indicated with letters (E) or (G).
  3. Socket-outlets shall be provided with internal shutters to cover current- carrying holes, in case of not using the socket-outlet, and shall be automatically uncovered when a plug is inserted.
  4. 220V plugs shall be provided with a fuse of 13 A for the protection of plugs, socket-outlets and wires in case of increasing the current above this value.
  5. 220V socket-outlets can be provided with a bilateral switch, so as to completely cut off the current from both electrified terminals, then cut it off from the device.
  6. Plug pins shall be solid and made of brass.
  7.  Plugs shall be provided with a clutch cable to ensure that connectors are not sprained or tightened.
  8. Plugs shall be constructed in a way that makes hand-holding safe, when a plug is inserted or withdrawn from a socket-outlet.
  9. Fuse connectors of plugs shall only be replaced after a plug is completely withdrawn from a socket-outlet.
  10. Plugs and socket-outlets shall be constructed in a way where electrified parts cannot be touched.
  11.  Current- carrying contact holes shall be deeper than the surface so that they cannot be touched.
  12. Plugs and socket- outlets shall be resistant to fire and abnormal heat.​

Why are these two types chosen?

       Each country uses a unified sort, sometimes more, of plugs and socket-outlets, according to its circumstances and applied electrical system. International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) has issued  the standard (IEC 60083) for "plugs and socket-outlets used in member countries", which includes different types used in countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, which has chosen the two clarified types among many world-known types for several reasons, including the following:
  • All safety requirements are found in both types.
  • Confusion between both used types is not possible.
  • The use of two different types is due to the existence of two different house voltages.
  •  The 220V type is more common in GCC countries.
  • Rectangular plug pins provide better connection and contact with socket-outlets, than round plug pins.
  • The third earthing pin/terminal protects the consumer from electric shocks, only if an earthing system is installed  in the residential unit.​​

Mandatory application of plugs and socket-outlets standards:

       Given the importance of these two items and the prevalence of their use in residential and commercial units, and the serious risks of their bad types, on consumers and their property, a resolution by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, on 23/2/2010 (03/09/1431H), was issued confirming all local traders, manufacturers and producers as well as importers to obligatorily apply the Saudi standard specifications of plugs and socket-outlets. The resolution has been obligatorily applied, a year after the date of its issue, where the import or manufacture of any plugs or socket-outlets  that do not confirm with those standards was prevented.
       The Saudi standard No. 2203 relies on the British standard BS 1363, while the Saudi standard No. 2204 relies on the American standard (ANSI/ UL 498) as main references.
       According to the system of dual voltages used in residential units, standards has identified  two different types of plugs and socket-outlets, one for 220V and bear up to 13 A or so-called British system, and the other one is for 127V and bear up to 15 A, or so-called American system.

​The Council of Ministers'  Resolution on changing Saudi voltage system:

        The Council of Ministers Resolution No. 425, dated 09/20/1431 H, on  changing the voltage system in Saudi residential and commercial units from (127/220V) to (230/400V), in order to reduce dangers arising from duplicating voltages, and the resolution to stop importing electrical appliances operating on 127V have both contributed to reduce consumers' use of adapters. Consumers have gradually moved to the use of a unified 220V or 230V type of plugs and socket-outlets in new residential areas, and new  buildings in areas that 127V exists .
       ​However, it should be noted that 127V is still used in many parts of Saudi Arabia. It will be eliminated gradually, under the supervision of the Saudi Electricity Company, when the 10-year introductory period ends. The introductory period, set by a resolution of the Council of Ministers, started from the date of its issue.


        Since 127V will take time to be eliminated, which could be up to 15 years or more, plugs and socket-outlets operating on this voltage will still be allowed to be imported, as spare parts for electrical appliances that are still used by consumers. The Saudi standard for this type of plugs and socket-outlets will remain in force until a resolution to stop their  import is issued.

Last modified 22 Jun 2021
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