The federal government has joined the increasingly urgent effort to recall thousands of lithium-ion batteries that remain installed in Australian homes despite being at risk of overheating and catching on fire.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which just last month issued a fresh warning of “serious risk of injury or death,” says about 8,000 of the affected range of LG manufactured batteries were installed in homes across Australia, with around 6,000 “not yet located.”
The ACCC says the affected batteries were supplied to Australian consumers nationally through multiple retailers from 21 January 2016, onwards, under the brands LG, SolaX, Opal, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana or VARTA; as well as in unbranded systems.
A national safety warning notice issued by assistant treasurer Stephen Jones, on the recommendation of the ACCC and “pursuant to the Australian Consumer Law,” now hopes to boost recall efforts and alert owners of the potentially deadly batteries ahead of what promises to be a long, hot summer.
“There is a serious risk of injury or death and/or property damage if a fire occurs, particularly because the batteries are normally installed on an internal or external wall of the main residence,” the notice says.
“Fires arising from lithium-ion batteries are difficult to extinguish and may spontaneously reignite and the consequences and severity of fires can be exacerbated during the spring and summer seasons with higher temperatures.
“At least nine incidents have been reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as having been associated with these faulty batteries that have caused property damage and, in one case, a personal injury. One home has been completely destroyed by a fire linked to an LG battery overheating,” the notice says.
ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe says she hopes that, following the minister’s urgent safety warning, consumers will now check whether their battery is subject to the recall.
“Thousands of people may be unaware they live in homes that have one of these affected batteries installed in their solar energy system,” Lowe said on Monday.
“The Minister has issued a safety warning notice to draw attention to the safety risks. It is vitally important that everyone with a solar system checks their battery now to make sure they keep their family safe.”
The assistant treasurer’s notice offers the following “urgent advice to consumers:
– If you have a solar storage system with a battery, regardless of what brand it is, check if it contains an LG battery, even if you’ve checked it before as the recalls have expanded in scope.
– The affected LG batteries are found in LG branded, other non-LG branded systems (including SolaX Opal, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana or VARTA systems) and in unbranded systems.
– If you do have an LG battery in your solar storage system, you should immediately check the serial number of your battery in the online serial number checker provided by LG Energy Solution Australia Pty Ltd (LGESAU) to help identify affected LG batteries. If you need help with checking your LG battery, contact LGESAU by phone on 1300 677 273 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– If your LG battery is affected by the recalls and you’re not sure if you’ve got the appropriate remedy, immediately switch it off and register your details with LGESAU so that they can contact you about next steps. To switch off the battery safely, you should refer to the instructions for your solar storage system or contact the installer or
LGESAU for advice. If your affected battery is switched-off, do not switch it back on unless specifically advised to do so.
– For some affected batteries, LGESAU will provide a free replacement or a full refund. For other affected batteries LGESAU will install diagnostic software designed to identify and shut down batteries at risk of overheating, with a free replacement or a full refund for batteries which are shut down by the diagnostic software. LGESAU will advise
consumers about which remedy applies to their affected LG battery.
– LGESAU will provide financial compensation to consumers for higher energy costs incurred due to the affected LG batteries being switched off.
Specified LG Batteries
The specified LG Batteries comprise the following 13 models installed in LG, SolaX and other branded and non-branded systems (some pictured above):
RESU models contained in LG branded systems:
– RESU7H Type R
– RESU10H Type C
– RESU10H Type R
– RESU10H Type R Secondary
S/A Gen2 batteries are installed in non-LG branded and unbranded systems:
– S/A Gen2 1P (EM048063P3S2, EM048063P3S4, EM048063P3S5)
– S/A Gen2 2P (EM048126P3S7, EM048126P3S8)
These batteries may be found in:
– SolaX Power Station, SolaX X-Cabinet and Opal Storage3
– Redback SH5000
– Red Earth Sunrise and Red Earth Drop Bear
– Eguana Evolve
– VARTA Pulse Neo
– Unbranded systems