Socket outlets or GPOs (power points)


What you may know as a power point is technically referred to as a 'socket outlet'. It's also less commonly referred to as a GPO, which stands for 'General Purpose Outlet' or 'General Power Outlet', depending on who you ask. The term 'GPO' is used in America (and therefore appears quite a lot online), but the term's outdated throughout the rest of the world.

Socket outlets are available in many different styles, and can only be installed or maintained by an electrician.


The humble three-pin power point

We share the three-pin power point / socket outlet with New Zealand, Fiji and Argentina. The flat blades measure 6.5 by 1.6 mm and are set at 30° to the vertical at a nominal pitch of 13.7 mm. Wall sockets are almost always equipped with manual switches to provide additional safety. Power points have three pins, including a ground or earth pin.


The maximum current rating for a standard power point is 10 amps. The Australian Standard AS/NZS 3112 specifies larger pins and differently shaped ground pins for power points with current ratings of 15, 20, 25 and 32 amps. Power points are also available specifically for external use - these are required to have a special weather proofing rating (to a minimum of IP67).


Rewiring your own power plugs

Whilst it's not necessarily a complex job to replace a power plug, you should bear in mind that getting it even slightly wrong can be extremely dangerous. Likewise, doing it yourself if you're not qualified to change plugs will not only void the warranty for the appliance, but it will almost certainly also void your insurance.

Although the laws differ between different states and territories, in most cases replacing power plugs on appliances is illegal unless you're properly qualified to do so. You can become qualified to do this sort of work by attending a short electrical testing and tagging course - check with the electrical authority in your state for more information.

Unless you're qualified to change plugs, always hire a qualified electrical contractor.