A recall is underway and Australians are being urged to check their solar energy storage systems for unsafe LG batteries after a Victorian home was destroyed and 12 other properties were damaged.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said there are still up to 5000 LG solar storage batteries that can overheat and catch fire without warning in Australian homes and cause not only risk of property damage, but injury to people. One person has already suffered a smoke inhalation injury.
Acting on a recommendation from the ACCC, Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones issued a proposed recall notice today that outlined the "catastrophic" risk to residents inside impacted houses, their neighbours and the community in the case of a bushfire.
Jones said a voluntary recall process has been underway since August 2020 and since then, an "alarmingly low and unsatisfactory" number of the 18,046 units had been resolved, with 27 per cent still not even located. The affected batteries were supplied to around 22 known Australian distributors.
"Affected consumers may be unaware of the risks of the batteries installed in their home solar storage system," the proposed recall notice states.
“We are urging everyone that has a solar energy storage system to check whether they have an affected battery and, if they do and it has not been remediated, to switch it off and contact LG immediately,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
“Even if you don’t have an LG branded solar storage system, please still follow our recommended steps to check your battery to protect your home and your family. Some of the affected batteries are installed in systems sold under other brands or in unbranded systems,” Lowe said.
Consumers have a right to a refund, replacement or an update to fix the product at no extra cost to them, depending on the serial number of the battery. LG will also give compensation to customers who are charged higher energy bills while the system is turned off.
How do I know if I have an impacted battery?
The batteries are not just in LG systems and can be in other brands, including SolaX, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana Evolve and VARTA Pulse Neo.
Models with affected batteries include:
RESU7H Type R
RESU10H Type C
RESU10H Type R
RESU10H Type R Secondary
S/A Gen2 1P (EM048063P3S2, EM048063P3S4, EM048063P3S5)
S/A Gen2 2P (EM048126P3S7, EM048126P3S8)
If your battery is affected, you should immediately switch off your battery storage system and keep it switched off to minimise the risk of fire,” LG states.
“To switch off the battery storage systems safely, you should refer to the instructions for the battery storage system or contact the installer or LGESAU for advice.”
You can get a step-by-step guide here.
If you need help, immediately contact LG Energy Solution Australia (LG) by phone on 1300 677 273 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The large lithium ion batteries form part of a residential solar energy system, capturing and storing energy from solar panels.
“The storage systems are usually installed on the external wall of dwellings but can also be installed under carports, in attached garages and within dwellings” the proposed recall notice states.
Suppliers can now request for the ACCC to hold a conference about the proposed recall.
"After any conference, the ACCC must then make a recommendation to the Assistant Treasurer on whether or not the ACCC recommends he should issue a compulsory recall notice,” Lowe said.