The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has started contacting about 5,000 households as part of an updated recall of solar batteries, mainly due to fire concerns.
The ACCC has started directly contacting Australians with faulty solar batteries in their homes. It is now urging households to check serial numbers, as it has expanded its national recall to include new models.
The affected batteries may include products from LG, SolaX, Opal, Redback, Red Earth, Eguana, and VARTA, said the ACCC. So far, about 2,900 batteries have been replaced or removed from the properties of consumers, while 1,400 batteries have been switched off to minimize the risk overheating while households wait for replacements or refunds.
LG and SolaX are still trying to trace around 3,000 additional recalled batteries. LG will replace recalled batteries manufactured between 29 March 2017 and 13 September 2018, free of charge. Alternatively, consumers can opt for refunds and have the recalled batteries removed from their properties at no cost. Households that will have higher electricity bills due to the loss of their batteries will also be compensated by LG, said the ACCC.
“Unfortunately, since October 2019 there have been nine reported incidents involving these types of batteries in Australia resulting in property damage and one injury,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
LG has also told the ACCC it has identified about 10,000 additional batteries that are at risk of overheating. To address this risk, LG will install diagnostic software to identify and shut down dangerous batteries, which will then be replaced for free. Electrical safety regulators are currently assessing LG’s proposed diagnostic software remedy, said the ACCC.
The fire risk of lithium battery makeups has been a divisive issue in the industry, with some labeling it anti-renewable “fear mongering,” but experts like UK Newcastle University Professor Paul Christensen believe the risks require serious consideration. In Australia, awareness of lithium battery risks rose when Neoen’s Victoria Big Battery caught fire during commissioning in 2021.
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