LG Home Battery Reminder A burning mess?

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There are troubling aspects to the ongoing recall of some LG home batteries and batteries also used by six other brands. Maybe LG will see this article and finally shed some light.

The story of this saga so far, as I understand it:

LG Energy Solution (formerly LG Chem) implemented a voluntary recall in the United States in late 2020 after reports of fires associated with certain LG Chem RESU 10H battery systems.

In February 2021, a recall notice was posted on the Product Safety Australia website stating that certain LG battery models and batteries used by other brands produced between March 2017 and September 2018 from specific production batches were affected. . The notice stated:

“Batteries can overheat and catch fire.”

At the time, it appeared that only a few hundred units in Australia were affected by the recall.

A new/updated recall notice was issued in March of this year, indicating that other brands are using the affected LG batteries:

  • SolaX (X cabinet, PowerStation)
  • Opal Storage (renamed SolaX).

Not good, but a few hundred batteries/packs should have been relatively easy to track down. LG would have very good systems in place to track inventory, there would be warranty records and such.

Well, you would think so anyway.

Questionable impact of LG solar battery is spreading

But in May this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressed serious concerns that *6,400* of the recalled batteries had not been replaced and some owners were unable to – be unaware of the recall and the risk of fire.

In August, the recall notice was updated to include even more brands, namely:

  • Redback SH50001
  • Red Earth Sunrise and Drop Bear2
  • Eguana evolve
  • VARTA Pulse Neo

LG does not answer questions

Late last month, we received an email from a PR firm working for LG, seeking more coverage regarding the recall on SolarQuotes. I was surprised the recall was still active given the ACCC prod in May and asked the company a few questions. They said they didn’t have the knowledge to answer. Fair enough; after all, they are just a marketing company. So, I asked them to direct me to someone at LG who could do it.

The silence.

So I decided to send these questions to LG via the email address listed on the Product Safety Reminder page. Here is the content of an email sent on August 25:

—–

Hi,

I work with SolarQuotes. I understand that there is still an active recall on some LG batteries, which I have covered several times:

https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/lg-chem-resu-recall-mb1896/
https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/lg-battery-recall-mb2420/
https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/lg-solax-opal-recall-mb2485/

Could you please tell me:

– At this stage, how many affected units have still not been located?

– When an affected system is identified, how long does it typically take the owner to receive the short-term fix (reducing an affected system’s maximum state of charge to 75%)?

– How long does it usually take for the owner to receive a replacement battery?

– Why was there such a discrepancy between the US and AU recalls?

– Why does it take so long to find all affected systems?

Thanks,

Michel Bloch

—-

The result? The silence.

I resent the same email on September 1st. At the time of publication, there has still been no response. Maybe LG is replacing the batteries (after about 18 months) and doesn’t have time to respond to people like me.

A pissed off (and nervous) LG battery owner

But just on that – adding to the overall troubling nature of the situation, a notice posted on SolarQuotes’ LG Energy Solution reviews page in May by a system owner who claimed his two batteries were initially limited to 75% capacity by LG remotely by interim fix.

But …

“As the cells increased in swelling, they were deemed to be too high a risk and were shut down.”

Cell swelling? Eek!

The owner claimed he had waited 9 months for his batteries to be replaced at that time.

“LG refused to remove the fire hazard under my house – actually under the floor of my master bedroom…. They continue to offer to pay our electricity at 30c/kW (after finally replacing the system – the date will probably be a YEAR), but will not give me a date to remove potential fireballs from under my house.”

I tried to contact the reviewer to find out if the batteries have since been removed and replaced, but have not received a response.

Home batteries are still a relatively new technology and have been plagued with problems though testing by the Canberra Battery Test Center is generally indicative of quality and reliability. With this in mind, SolarQuotes advised Australians to buy a battery, make sure it comes from a strong company that will stand behind their products.

But in the absence of any response from LG Energy Solution to my questions, in my opinion, the company has really screwed up on this recall.

How to Check a Battery (and Do It Now)

Given the seriousness of the problem, owners of solar batteries from LG or any of the brands mentioned above should consult the instructions on this page on how to identify an affected system. Don’t procrastinate – do it now. If you know someone who could potentially own one of the affected products, do them a favor and direct them to this page. It could save their home – and their lives.

For any questions or further information required, the ACCC advises contacting LG Energy Solution Australia Product Services by telephone on 1300 677 273 or by email at [email protected] – and I hope you’ll have better luck than me if you email them.

If you have been affected and are not receiving the attention you rightly deserve; make noise.

Footnotes

  1. I am advised that all Redback systems affected by the recall have been located and the majority of batteries have been replaced as of September 14, 2022.
  2. RedEarth told me that the company no longer uses LG batteries. UPDATE: Shortly after publication, a RedEarth spokesperson provided the following statement:
    “RedEarth has worked with a company representing LG to identify and replace the recalled batteries. We have worked together to contact all RedEarth customers affected by the recall. Over 70% of affected RedEarth customers have already had their batteries replaced with new batteries LG or by RedEarth’s own LFP battery, Troppo. Batteries that have not yet been replaced have been disabled and customers will be compensated for the number of battery-free days from LG; all affected customers have been notified. We hope to complete the replacement program by the end of this month.

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