There are unsettling aspects to an ongoing recall of certain LG home batteries and battery packs also used by six other brands. Maybe LG will see this article and finally shed some light.
The history of this saga to date, as I understand it:
LG Energy Solution (previously LG Chem) implemented a voluntary recall in the USA in late 2020 after reports of fires associated with some LG Chem RESU 10H battery systems.
In February 2021, a recall notice went up on the Product Safety Australia web site indicating certain LG battery models and battery packs used by other brands produced between March 2017 and September 2018 from specific production lots were affected. The notice mentioned:
“The batteries may overheat and catch on fire”.
At that point in time, it looked be only a few hundred units in Australia affected by the recall.
A new/updated recall notice was published in March this year, indicating other brands using affected LG battery packs:
- SolaX (X-cabinet, PowerStation)
- Opal Storage (rebadged SolaX).
Not good, but a few hundred batteries/packs should have been relatively easy to track down. LG would have really good systems in place for tracking inventory, there would be warranty registrations and such.
Well, you’d think so anyway.
Dodgy LG Solar Battery Impact Spreads
But then in May this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressed serious concern that *6,400* of the recalled batteries had not been replaced, and that some owners may not be aware of the recall and the fire risk.
In August, the recall notice was updated to include even more brands, being:
- Redback SH50001
- Red Earth Sunrise and Drop Bear2
- Eguana Evolve
- VARTA Pulse Neo
LG Fails To Respond To Questions
Late last month, we received an email from a PR firm doing work for LG, looking for more regarding coverage of the recall on SolarQuotes. I was surprised the recall was still active given the ACCC’s prod in May, and asked this firm a few questions. They said they didn’t have the knowledge to answer. fair enough; after all, they are just a marketing firm. So, I asked them to point me to someone at LG who could.
I then decided to send those questions to LG via the email address listed on the Product Safety Recall page. The following is the content of an email sent on August 25:
I work with SolarQuotes. I’m of the understanding there is still an active recall on certain LG batteries, which I’ve covered a few times:
Could you please tell me:
– At this point in time, how many affected units have still not been located?
– When an affected system is identified, how long does it generally take for the owner to receive the short term fix (dropping the maximum state of charge of an affected system to 75 per cent)?
– How long does it generally take before the owner receives a replacement battery?
– Why was there a such a lag between the US and AU recalls?
– Why is it taking so long to track down all the affected systems?
The result? Silence.
I re-sent the same email on September 1. At the time of publishing there still hasn’t been a reply. Maybe LG are just flat out replacing batteries (after 18 months or so) and don’t have time to respond to the likes of me.
A Pissed-Off (And Nervous) LG Battery Owner
But just on that – adding to the unsettling general nature of the situation was a review posted to SolarQuotes’ LG Energy Solution’s review page back in May by a system owner who claimed his two batteries were initially limited to 75% capacity by LG remotely per the interim fix.
“With increasing swelling of the cells it was deemed that they pose too high a risk and have been shut down.”
Swelling of the cells? Eek!
The owner claimed he had waited 9 months for replacement of his batteries at that point.
“LG have refused to remove the fire risk from under my house – in fact under the floor of my master bedroom…. They keep offering to pay for our electricity at 30c/kW (after they’ve eventually replaced the system – likely to be a YEAR), but won’t give me a date to remove the potential fireballs under my house.”
I’ve tried contacting the reviewer to find out whether the batteries have finally been removed and replaced since, but didn’t receive a reply.
Home batteries are still fairly new tech and have been plagued by issues if testing by the Canberra Battery Test Center is generally indicative of quality and reliability. With that in mind, SolarQuotes has advised if Australians are going to buy a battery, make sure it’s from a solid company that will stand by its products.
But in the absence of comment from LG Energy Solution, in my opinion, the company has really screwed the pooch on this recall.
How To Check A Battery (And Do It Now)
Given the serious nature of the issue, owners of LG solar batteries or any of the brands mentioned above should see instructions on this page on how to identify an affected system. Don’t put it off – do it right now. If you know of someone who could potentially have one of the affected products, do them a favor and point the person to that page. It could save their home – and their life.
For any questions or further information required, the ACCC advises contacting LG Energy Solution Australia’s product department via phone on 1300 677 273 or email at [email protected] – and I hope you have better luck than me if you email them.
If you have been affected and are not getting the attention you rightly deserve; make some noise.
- I’m informed all Redback systems affected by the recall have been located and the majority of batteries replaced as at September 14, 2022. ↩
- RedEarth have told me the company no longer uses LG battery packs. ↩