Homeowners have been warned to check their solar panel systems immediately as part of an urgent recall of batteries that have caught fire and caused injuries and property damage.
The dangerous LG batteries are mainly installed in homes as part of a solar energy system to capture and store renewable energy.
Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission issued a warning on Monday, saying while thousands of the potentially deadly LG solar batteries have already been recalled, LG is trying to track down thousands more with an additional 10,000 batteries that are at risk of overheating.
Batteries, which can be LG, SolaX, Opal, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana, and VARTA brands, can overheat and catch fire, which can result in property damage and personal injury.
The Consumer Protection Agency said it will contact nearly 5,000 homes directly in the coming weeks that are likely to have solar energy systems with dangerous solar batteries.
To date, approximately 2,900 batteries have been replaced or removed from consumer properties.
Another 1,400 batteries have been switched off or their maximum charge capacity reduced to 75 percent to reduce the risk of overheating while awaiting replacement or refund.
However, LG and SolaX are trying to track down about 3000 more recalled batteries.
“This recall has been updated twice to include new models, affected systems and dates of manufacture. Even if your battery has not been previously recalled, you will need to recheck your battery’s serial number. We remain very concerned about the fire risks posed by these faulty batteries, so please act quickly,” said ACCC Vice Chair Delia Rickard.
“Unfortunately, nine incidents involving these types of batteries resulting in property damage and one injury have been reported in Australia since October 2019. We don’t want to see any more incidents or injuries.”
Consumers are urged to turn off affected batteries, leave them turned off, and contact the manufacturer for a free replacement or refund.
LG will provide financial compensation to consumers who face higher electricity bills because they cannot use their battery as expected.
LG will replace recalled batteries manufactured between March 29, 2017 and September 13, 2018 free of charge.
Alternatively, consumers can opt for a refund and have the recalled battery removed from their property free of charge.
“While we are trying to reach as many affected households as possible in the coming weeks, please do not wait to be contacted. Check if your battery has been recalled and take action now,” Ms. Rickard said.
LG has also told the ACCC that it has identified about 10,000 additional batteries that are at risk of overheating.
To counter this risk, LG suggests installing diagnostic software to identify and shut down dangerous batteries, which will then be replaced free of charge.
Electrical safety regulators are currently reviewing LG’s proposed diagnostic software as a workaround for these extra batteries.
What consumers should do
1. Check if your battery has been recalled
Consumers can use the serial number checker on LG’s website www.lgessbattery.com/au to see if their energy storage system is affected by the recall.
2. If your battery has been recalled, turn it off
To safely switch off the battery storage system, read the battery storage system instructions or contact the installer or LG Energy Solution on 1300 677 273 or email email@example.com
3. Contact the manufacturer
Contact the manufacturer to let them know you have a recalled battery and arrange for remedial action.
For LG, Redback, Red Earth, Evolve or VARTA energy storage systems, contact LG Energy Solution on 1300 677 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For SolaX or Opal battery systems, contact SolaX Power on 1300 476 529 or email email@example.com.
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