November 22, 2023: Australia’s federal government issued an urgent national fire safety warning notice over home solar storage systems on November 20 — linked to a lithium batteries recall dating back two years.
One home has already been “completely destroyed by a fire linked to an LG Energy Storage (LGES) battery overheating”, financial services minister Stephen Jones (pictured) said.
About 6,000 of a total 8,000 affected LGES batteries in solar storage systems have yet to be tracked down, Jones said.
Affected batteries were supplied nationally through multiple retailers from January 21, 2016.
The government safety notice comes a year after consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), revealed the existence of potentially deadly faulty batteries identified in an LGES recall.
The ACCC says, since October 2019, it has received reports of at least nine incidents associated with faulty batteries that have caused property damage and, in one case, a personal injury.
ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said residents should urgently check whether their solar storage battery is subject to the LGES recall.
“This includes non-LG-branded solar storage systems that may also contain a recalled LG battery. If a battery is subject to recall, it should be switched off immediately.”
Lowe said LGES will provide a refund, replacement or software update to fix the problem, and has also committed to paying compensation to consumers that incur higher energy bills while their system is switched off.
In response to the government’s notice, LGES Australia said on November 22 it was conducting a safety recall* for certain of its ESS home batteries equipped with cells manufactured between March 29, 2017 and September 13, 2018.
This followed the first LGES recall announced on February 24, 2021 which was expanded in August 2021 to include additional models.
Last month, the ACCC called for a harmonized electrical safety regulatory framework across all states to help combat fires and other incidents linked to lithium ion battery products.
*Recall details are on the Product Safety Australia website.