DUBAI // Warning stickers could soon be placed on electrical appliances sold in the UAE that do not use the standard three-pin plug system.
Although the sale of electricals that use two-pin plugs was banned last year, authorities are now looking to provide more flexibility to retailers, particularly those that cater to tourists.
The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) brought in the ban a year ago due to concerns the use of two-pin plugs in three-pin sockets could lead to a higher risk of fire.
"We have a lot of people who travel through the UAE, so for these people it might be a case that the two-pin plugs will work perfectly well in their countries," said Mohammed Saleh Badri, acting director general of Esma.
"One of the things we are looking at is to place warning stickers on products that have two-pin plugs, included informing the consumer that they are potentially dangerous if used in the UAE but maybe OK in another country."
Esma brought in a phased import and sale ban of two-pin items and even removed appliances from shop shelves last year.
The ban was enforced in partnership with customs officials, municipalities across the country and licensing agencies, said Mr Badri.
For retailers the switchover has been a smooth one, with most products sold in the UAE now having the standard three-pin, British style plugs.
"It depends on the product but the vast majority of TVs and whitegoods now come with a three-pin plug," said Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at Jacky's Electronics.
"I think there is still possibly an issue with grey market imports but on the whole official items now at least come with both a two and three-pin plug."
Online importers have faced the added cost of providing three-pin adaptors on products bought on the grey market for UAE-based customers.
"We have been giving our customers the option of having a three-pin plug," said Sheriff Rizwan, chief executive of ALShop.com.
"It has been a little extra cost for us but from our point of view it benefits our customers so it's worth it."
According to the regulations all plugs for electrical appliances below 13 amps must be the standard three-pin models.
Manufacturers and traders must adopt the UAE/BS 1363-5 standard for all home and office appliances.
The system features shutters on the live and neutral socket holes and a fuse in the plug.
The shuttering system in sockets means that nothing can be inserted into the neutral and live terminals until the ground pin has been inserted.
It was first used in the UK in 1947 and has been adopted in a number of other countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Oman and Jordan.