Energy Safe Victoria

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Buying safe electrical appliances

What to look for when buying an electrical appliance

Approved electrical appliances

All electrical appliances and equipment must be approved prior to being made available for public use. Approved electrical appliances display a regulatory compliance mark or a unique safety approval number.

Approval markings can vary between states. Typically they are an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state that issued the approval followed by between one and six digits. Two examples are shown below.

For more information about recognised safety approval numbers and regulatory compliance marks (RCM) in Australia, click here.

Electrical approval number 1Electrical approval number 2

To find out if an appliance is approved for use, ask the store manager / sales person or search the Australian Certification Database for approved electrical appliances

It is illegal to sell unapproved electrical products

Outlets or retailers selling them may be fined $5,000 for individuals and $24,000 for companies.

Members of the public can report the sale of unapproved electrical products.
Phone ESV on 03 9203 9700 or 1800 800 158 or email us at info@energysafe.vic.gov.au.

Buying electrical equipment online

Be careful when buying electrical equipment online as some of the products for sale on the internet do not meet Australian safety standards.

To find out what to look for when buying electrical equipment from overseas and online sellers, click here.

Non-compliant USB chargers, travel adaptors and power supplies

Non-compliant USB chargers, travel adaptors and power supplies pose a serious safety risk.

All USB chargers, travel adaptors and power supplies must be approved by a recognised certification body and display the RCM or an approval number on the product.

To see examples of compliant and non-compliant USB chargers, travel adaptors and power supplies, click here.

Buying second-hand electrical equipment

If you have purchased or plan to purchase second-hand electrical equipment, ensure the appliance has been approved as safe for use in Australia, that it is not damaged and have it ‘tagged and tested’ by a qualified repairman or a licensed electrician.

Beware of purchasing second-hand electrical items on social media. A so-called bargain could be an expensive and dangerous mistake.

Damaged or ageing electrical equipment

Never use electrical equipment that is damaged or ageing.  Throw away old extension cords, powerboards or any electrical product with a frayed cord.

Take the time to check the cords at your home and throw away any with exposed wires or damage.

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to buying safe electrical appliances and equipment please contact ESV on 03 9203 9700 or email us at info@energysafe.vic.gov.au.