Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that uses the dual-distribution voltage 127/220 volts in homes where standard voltage 127 volts is used for household appliances (lighting fixtures, refrigerators, microwave ovens, TV) and the 220 volts for high-load electrical appliances (air conditioners, elevators, pumps). Only 9% of the countries in the world use this dual-distribution voltage while more than 70% use 230/380 volts, many of which are planning to adopt or change to the international standard voltage 230/400 volts being recommended by the international electrotechnical Commission (IEC); the organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronics and related technologies. Six percent (6%) of the countries of the world use 110 volts while the remaining 15% use various voltages. The continued application of the dual-voltage in the kingdom brings negative effects which include the following:
- Isolation from international-adopted standards voltage 230/400 volts which shall gradually become the standards voltage applied in different countries at international level.
- Increased incidence of accidents (electrical shocks, damage to electrical appliance, and outbreaks of fires) when appliances are mistakenly plugged into wrong voltage due to the presence of dual-voltages 127/220 volts in the home.
- The need to use adaptors to connect electrical devices to power source, given a huge array of plugs and sockets which weaken the level of security and safety.
- Continued entry of electrical appliances to the markets of the Kingdom, designed for voltage of less than 127 volts, and allow them to operate at non-rated voltage shall lead to a shortening of their service life and reducing their performance efficiency.
- Difficulty in the application of certificates of conformity with the Saudi standards specifications because the voltage rating of the imported equipment is different from the voltage rating used in the kingdom.
- Manufacturing difficulty involved in the production of devices with operating voltage of 127 volts being encountered by exporting factories to the kingdom requires additional cost to the consumer.