Electrical standards are a complicated matter. Many in the trade find them hard to read and believe they are left intentionally vague. A Licensed Electrician or chartered Electrical Engineer have a certain ‘license’ to interpret the rules. The way the rules are written, it assumes every ‘Event’ has a sparky on site. But we all know that’s rarely the case, even more rare is a sparky that understands the intricacies of AS/NZS 3002:2021 or is willing to help.

This white paper, and the series it belongs to will hopefully aid in demystifying the rules and help in clarifying some common misconceptions, particularly those relevant to the events industry.


I don’t claim to know everything or that I have interpreted the rules correctly (whatever that means). This white paper should not be assumed to be correct or used as any kind of guide or ‘how-to’. It is simply the ramblings of a frustrated business owner trying to make a product that is both useable, safe, and compliant.
The author and associated business/s assume no risk and take no responsibility for the use, misuse, or wrongful implementation of any of the following information. Again, if you are unsure, I suggest you buy a copy of the relevant rules and read it yourself, then consult a chartered or licenced professional and proceed with caution.


Electricity is dangerous and has the potential to kill. Caution should always be taken when working
with or around any electrical system.

Written by: Lachlan Elmore, owner of ONEstage and Element Audio Pty Ltd
All rights reserved, for re-publication please contact us. 17/06/2022


AS/NZS3002:2021 (current at time of writing)
Electrical installations – Shows, carnivals and events.
Published: 25/6/21

“This Standard sets out requirements for the supply of electricity to power consuming devices for shows, carnivals and events, public events, and limited duration private domestic or private corporate events where attendance is expected to be in excess of 30 people or when staff are employed for the event.”

AS/NZS3105:2014 and 2017 amendment (current at time of writing)
Published: 13/6/2017
Approval and test specification — Electrical portable outlet devices “Specifies requirements for electrical portable outlet devices (EPODs) primarily intended for household and similar use at low voltage and having an outlet facility or facilities in the form of socket outlets or cord extension sockets or connectors.”

AS/NZS 3100:2017 (current at time of writing)
Published: 13/1/2017
Approval and test specification — General requirements for electrical equipment

“This Standard specifies the general safety requirements for, or with respect to, equipment (including fittings, accessories, appliances, and apparatus) of classes and types that are used in, or intended for use in, or in connection with, electrical installations in buildings, structures, and premises. It is not applicable to an appliance within the scope of AS/NZS 60335.1 or a part 2 of this standard, except where an approval and test specification refers to this standard.”

AS/NZS 3112:2017 Amd 1:2021[Current]
Published: 17/9/2021
Approval and test specification — Plugs and socket-outlets

Note: Unless otherwise mentioned, all text in italics is copies verbatim from the relevant standards.
All rights to standards remain the property of Standards Australia and their agents.

What is AS/NZS3002, and does it apply to me?

In short, yes. If you supply electrical distribution equipment or infrastructure to gigs in Australia or New Zealand and are involved in Audio, Lighting, Video, Staging, Corporate, PoS, etc, it applies to you. It does not however apply to permanently installed cabling or accessories which likely fall under

Example 1: AS/NZS3002 does not apply to a Power-point or switchboard permanently installed in a venue.

Example 2: AS/NZS3002 does apply to a distro/dimmer or power-board used in a venue, even if plugged into permanently installed socket outlets.

Officially the standard says and defines a ‘Gig’ as we know it, the following way.

“This Standard sets out requirements for the supply of electricity to power consuming devices for –

  •  Shows, carnivals and events;
  • Public events; and
  • Limited duration private domestic or private corporate events where attendance is expected to be in excess of 30 people or when staff are employed for the event.
  • Where an event is held at premises not normally used for events; this Standard applies to the event wiring of the event.

The particular requirements of this Standard are additional to, replace, or modify the general requirements of AS/NZS 3000 for the electrical wiring of shows, carnivals and events. Where this Standard does not specify a requirement, the relevant requirements of AS/NZS 3000 apply.”

So now we’ve established what AS/NZS3002 is and how it applies, let move on to today’s topic. EPODS

What is an EPOD?

Colloquially and loving known as a ‘Show stopper’ ‘Power-board’ ‘Power Drop’ or by any other nick name, an EPOD or Electrical Portable Outlet Device is legally defined by AS/NZS3105 as; “A device, other than a cord extension set or a socket-outlet adapter without any control or conditioning functions, having a single means of connection to a low voltage supply, and one or more outlet facilities. It may incorporate a reeling or coiling arrangement and/or a control or conditioning function.”

In essence, any device which has a single power input, more than 2 outputs (note, “double adapters” are not classified as EPODS), but excluding reticulated distribution devices such as dimmers, distros and portable RCD boxes (those devices have their own set of standards) are EPODS.

Why should I care?

At best we’ve had a device trip a circuit, but we’ve no doubt all seen photos or heard stories about fires, electrocution or other horrific and avoidable circumstances caused by dodgy or improperly used electrical equipment. We have standards for a reason. Your life and the safety of it and those around you or those expected to be in the vicinity of any electrical device depends on the device in question being built and tested to these standards.

With any luck, we all manage to avoid these circumstances in life and at work, but why should we rely on luck, and who’s going to cover us when the luck doesn’t go your way? “The insurance company!” I hear you proclaim. Well, maybe. Anyone who’s ever insured a car knows the insurer wants to know the cars age, storage location, make and model. But very few business insurers want to know the condition, brand, type, and age of all your electrical equipment is. Test Tag is meant to cover this to some extent, but the onus is generally on the business to ensure they comply with all relevant State and Federal requirements and passing Test Tag doesn’t automatically mean something is safe or fit for purpose.

So, what does an EPOD need to be compliant?

First, let’s look at the standards.

3.7.5 Electrical Portable Outlet Devices General
Electrical portable outlet devices (EPODS) shall comply with AS/NZS3105 and the following additional requirements.

This means that any EPOD used under the mandate of AS/NZS3002 shall comply with AS/NZS3105 AND any additional requirements specified by AS/NZS3002.

We won’t go into all of them, as they can get convoluted. But for today’s discussion lets focus on a few key points.



5.5.8 Outlet switching Switching requirements for EPODS

EPODs shall be provided with manually-operated switching of the outlet facilities, which shall be within 0.9 m of every outlet facility, if they are

  •  fitted with a plug and power supply cord, the length of which exceeds 1.8 m, as described in Clause 6.1(a);
  • provided with a means of connection described in Clause 6.1 (b); or
  • fitted with a plug connector described in Clause 6.1(c) and a power supply cord, the length of which exceeds 1.8 m.

For the purpose of this Clause, the length of the supply cord for an EPOD fitted with or without a junction shall be the maximum total length from the plug face to the cord entry point of any outlet facility.

These switching arrangements shall be one of the following:

  1. A switch or a miniature overcurrent circuit breaker or a cord-line switch which controls all outlet facilities, and which is rated at not less than the current rating of the EPOD
  2. A switch controlling each outlet facility or socket-outlet provided each switch is rated at not less than the current rating of the outlet facility or socket-outlet it control. An EPOD with only one outlet facility or socket-outlet, with or without any lampholder as described in Clause 5.5.6 need not be provided with a
    switching arrangement. Requirements for switches in EPODS All switches shall be multi-pole and shall be of one of the following types:

  • a switch conforming with AS/NZS 3133 when tested in the EPOD. Where a switch
    controls socket-outlets the switch shall conform with Clauses 3.11 and 3.14.9 in
    AS/NZS 3112:2011 except it shall be a Category 1 switch and the ON position need
    not be marked. Where operated by the insertion and withdrawal of a plug, the
    switch shall be operated only by a live pin of the plug and need only open one live
  • a miniature overcurrent AS/NZS 60898.1; or circuit breaker conforming with AS/NZS
    3111 or AS/NZS 60898.1

2 Pole overload

5.5.8 is a good example of where an EPOD with an appliance inlet (think IEC connector or Neutrik TruCon) has more requirements in AS/NZS3002 than in AS/NZS3105. A TruCon or IEC inlet can be defined as a connection facility and as such the following would apply. AS/NZS3002:2021 Connection facility overcurrent protection Each connection facility shall be

  • supplied by a dedicated circuit; and
  • protected by a separate overcurrent protection device in accordance with the following:
    • (i) For connection facilities rated up to 50 A, the device shall be a circuit breaker.
    • (ii) For connection facilities rated 50 A or more, the device shall be a circuit breaker or High Rupturing Capacity (HRC) fuse(s).
    • (iii) Where the connection facility is a socket-outlet, the rating of the overcurrent protective device shall not exceed the rating of that socket-outlet.
      HRC fuse bases shall provide a minimum degree of protection of IP2X with the fuse carrier removed.
  • In Australia
    In Australia, the overcurrent circuit-breaker required by Clause shall operate in all live (active and neutral) conductors.


So, you need an EPOD. You read up on AS/NZS3105 & AS/NZS3100, you design some sheet metal, buy some bits from your local electrical wholesaler. You get to work and assemble your DIY EPOD.

You then test your EPOD to the rigorous and destructive requirements of AS/NZS3105 passes test tag. Cool, but not so fast!

In section B.5 of AS/NZS/3003, we find a note reading.

“EPOD – electrical portable outlet device (does need certification and approval).”

What does the mean exactly?

It means building and testing the device to the standard is a good start, but to be compliant with the rules, your device needs independent verification AND certification. Remember that insurance policy? In all likely hood, its probably void if your product does not meet this criteria!


The dictionary defines cascading as, “Something arranged or occurring in a series or in a succession of stages so that each stage derives from or acts upon the product of the preceding.”

In the case of, we see another example of where the requirements of AS/NZS3002 supersede those of AS/NZS3105 and require that.
“Low voltage electrical power supply for an EPOD shall be obtained from the socket-outlets of an outlet box but shall not be obtained from the socket-outlets of another EPOD.”

Thanks to AS/NZS3105 5.5.7 we now know that EPODS require overload protection and that AS/NZS3002 says we can’t cascade EPODS, does this mean that EPODS don’t comply if they have a throughput?

Well Kind of, but only if the pass through is defined as a “socket-outlet.”

Firstly, AS/NZS3105 defines a socket outlet is defined as “Accommodating a three-pin flat-pin plug conforming to AS/NZS3112”

So, an EPOD with an unprotected passthrough plug not complying with AS/NZS3112 could perhaps be defined as permissible, but if we look closer at AS/NZS3105 we can see that under section 5.5.1 there are further allowances for outlet facilities.

5.5 Outlet facilities

5.5.1 general

“An EPOD shall be provided with outlet facilities described in Clauses 5.5.2, 5.5.3, 5.5.4 or a combination of these outlet facilities, subject to meeting requirements of all Clauses of this standard. Any facility intended for the connection of an auxiliary means of control is not regarded as an outlet facility.”

Beauty, although care and attention should be paid to the entire design and implementation of your cascading system, and provided that above clauses are adhered too, we can now cascade EPODs!

But what is ‘Auxiliary means of control?” Well, it’s not exactly clear, and you should consult an Electrical Engineer, a Licensed Electrical Inspector, or your local state supply authority (ESV for example) before jumping in. However, it’s the Authors opinion that this means that an EPOD with
and auxiliary outlet other than a flat three-pin plug (GPO), such as Neutrik Trocon is an acceptable means of ‘Auxiliary Control’ provided that the device downstream has its own over-load capability.

Please note, its expressly prohibited to plug an appliance directly into the throughout of an EPOD!

To re-cap:

  • EPODs with appliance inlets need a switch.
  • EPOD switches must operate in live and neutral conductors.
  • EPODs with leads longer than 0.9m need a switch on every outlet.
  • Overload protection must not exceed rated current of socket outlet.
  • All EPODs need overload protection equal to or less than the outlet connectors rated current.
  • All EPODS used under the confines of AS/NZS3002 need 2-Pole overload protection (In Australia).
  •  You cannot cascade EPODs via socket-outlets, unless the outlet facility was designed for auxiliary means of control.
  • You cannot cascade EPODs to devices without auxiliary means of control.
  • All EPODS need certification and approvals.

So, does your equipment comply?