Update On The LG Battery Recall: Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

lg battery recall continues

Keen SolarQuotes readers will no doubt recall the ongoing saga which began when LG Energy Solution Australia issued a recall notice for various LG Chem RESU models and battery packs back in February 2021. Since then, the recall has spread to other manufacturers containing the affected LG batteries.

This article includes an update on the situation – straight from the horse’s mouth as it were. Earlier in May, Philip Crotty, the Managing Director of LG Energy Solution Australia spoke to an anxious crowd at the Smart Energy Conference. First, I’ll give you a little background, followed by Mr Crotty’s take on the dilemma.

The Story So Far

SolarQuotes blogger Michael Bloch has followed this story closely from day one, and has written about it no less than five times. Here’s a summary:

  • Late 2020: LG Energy Solution (previously LG Chem) initiates a voluntary recall in the USA due to reported fires linked to specific LG Chem RESU 10H residential energy storage systems.
  • February 2021: A recall notice is issued on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Product Safety Australia website for various LG battery models and battery packs produced between March 2017 and September 2018 from some production lots. At this stage, the recall affects 479 units in Australia.
  • Late March 2022: Another recall notice is published on the Product Safety Australia website, extending the recall to include other brands using affected LG battery packs, such as SolaX (X-cabinet, PowerStation) and Opal Storage (rebadged SolaX).
  • May 2022: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raises concerns about the recall of 6,400 batteries, stating that they have not been replaced. The ACCC also expresses concern that some owners may be unaware of the recall and the associated fire risk.
  • August 31, 2022: The recall notice is updated, incorporating additional models such as Redback SH5000, Red Earth Sunrise, Red Earth Drop Bear, Eguana Evolve, and VARTA Pulse Neo. It is subsequently updated to include Redback SH5000, Red Earth Sunrise, Red Earth Drop Bear, Eguana Evolve, and VARTA Pulse Neo.
  • November 2022: LG launches a “Checks For Cheques” campaign in Australia. The initiative invites LG battery owners to download and use an app to scan the serial number of their unit and register their details for a chance to win money! (That’s not a typo).
  • November 21, 2022: The ACCC announces its plan to contact nearly 5,000 households believed to possess LG solar batteries. LG informs the ACCC about an additional 10,000 batteries susceptible to overheating. The ACCC advises individuals to recheck their batteries. They report that 2,900 batteries have now been replaced or removed. Another 1,400 batteries have been deactivated or had their maximum charge capacity reduced to 75% as a precautionary measure against overheating while awaiting replacement or refund.

Eye-watering stuff. There’s enough in there for a B Grade Channel 7 mini-series. So, six months later, are we any further down the track? I have no idea. Maybe Mr Crotty can get us out of this mess.

Smart Energy Conference Talk

Philip Crotty is the Managing Director of LG Energy Solution Australia. He recently gave a talk at the Smart Energy Conference entitled “Home Battery Fire Safety Policy Update”. Here are some excerpts from his speech:

“I have a dream.”

Sorry, wrong speech.

Here is the correct speech:

“Thank you. Before we get into the update, I’d just like to give a bit of an overview of our company and where we’re standing in the market. We were founded in 1947 and we added lithium batteries to our portfolio… “

He then goes on, spending a third of his allotted time talking about how great his company is.

Despite starting on the wrong foot, Mr Crotty eventually steered the ship around when he finally began talking about the battery recall.

Transparency

“So first, safety will be transparent with the regulators and the public, and we have been doing that. We will strongly support our partners as part of our commitment. We’re strongly involved with the existing installer network in implementing this safety recall and with our customers. We’ll make sure they not only get a safe replacement but they’re fully confident.”

“We notified the ACCC straight away in August 2020 and continued to work on investigating the root cause. We determined the root cause and we finalised the recall range in June 2021. And we determined that we needed to replace all of our JH Three cells that we’d manufactured between 29 March 2017 and 13 September.”

Technical risk assessment

“With the replacement recall, we have now addressed 82% of affected batteries. This isn’t strictly equal to the number of batteries replaced. We have batteries with different numbers of cells in them. We have a faster remediation rate for some models than others, but that’s our overall technical risk assessment. We have plenty of replacement stocks in the country.”

Remote software update

“We issued also a diagnostic software recall to apply to cell production on either side of the recall range. We’re rolling out software that will set any preconditions that could potentially lead to a thermal failure, and that software will shut down the battery. This involves online software update remotely, and for those which are offline, we need to make a visit to the site and perform the upgrade.”

“We’ve engaged some service guys who are trusted technical partners, but for larger sales and installation companies, they want to do that work themselves. If you’re in that position, please let us know. We can provide the equipment and the training. The combined progress is 78%.”

Supply chain tracing

“The type of tracing that we’re doing – there are two main aspects to it. Firstly, supply chain tracing. Every battery has a trail to follow, from when we sold it to a distributor, then on-sold it through the industry. The challenges are closed businesses. We’ve hired investigators to really doggedly follow the trail there.”

Public outrage outreach

“The second main avenue is public outreach. This is done through geotargeted social media, particularly the areas with a lot of closed businesses. Google advertising, targeted social media, digital media banners, and so on. You may have seen these ads around and you’ll notice they’re fairly alarming. This is a deliberate strategy. We can’t afford any complacency in the market, so we maximise the perception of risk so that if they do have a battery, they will check the serial number.”

Gamified?

“Another strategy for acceleration is that we’ve now developed an app for fast checking of serial numbers online, and we’ve gamified it. You’ll find this in the app store, under “Checks For Cheques”. We’re about to change the name of that to “Is My Battery Safe?” What this does is allow you to scan a serial number.”

At the time of writing, the name of this app has indeed changed to “Is My Battery Safe?” I guess someone in the company had the courage to point out that a ‘battery recall due to risk of fire’ isn’t a game.

Mr Crotty’s Wrap

“So 78% risk elimination to date, 500,000 fault-free batteries since the recall range. 100% is that goal which we’ll keep working towards. If you have any questions, if you’re aware of any batteries, or any installers that have gone out of business, please let us know. Thanks, everybody.”

My Wrap

There’s not much more I can say. When the aforementioned SQ blogger Michael reached out to LG in September last year, he was met with deafening silence. Many of the commenters on his articles have had a similar response.

Some commenters have told us that the remote update, which Mr Crotty mentioned above, throttles the battery back to 75%. Is this a suitable fix, or a stop-gap measure? I’d say the latter. Surely there’ll be new batteries to follow for all those with a compromised battery output caused by another thought-bubble response?

Maybe you could give LG a call and ask them? 1300 677 273

Don’t forget to check this page if you are worried about your battery, and pass it on if you think someone needs to know… and make a noise if you’re getting a raw deal.

About Kim Wainwright

A solar installer and electrician in a previous life, Kim has been blogging for SolarQuotes since 2022. He enjoys translating complex aspects of the solar industry into content that the layperson can understand and digest. He spends his time reading about renewable energy and sustainability, while simultaneously juggling teaching and performing guitar music around various parts of Australia. Read Kim's full bio.

Comments

  1. I was a happy LG battery customer, with two of the RES10H, and the first recall I had taken part in a few years ago was handled brilliantly. THEY phoned me to notify me, and replaced the battery the next day. 24 hours from start to finish.

    This time has been a joke. I used the app in December 2022, my second battery was included in the expanded recall, I talked to them around the same time, and was promised all would be sorted in January 2023.

    Come May, they email me again to tell me there’s a recall, and claim to have absolutely no knowledge of me having ever contacted them before. And for RES 10H batteries they have no idea until the software diagnostic patch will be ready, let alone how long for a replacement if it needs it.

    It’s no wonder the recall isn’t getting anywhere, they haven’t a clue what they are doing and are not completing things they already started. How many people – like me – think LG are sorting there’s out, and actually they’ve lost the scrap of paper they wrote your details on.

  2. How long will it be until the next manufacturer notices a fault that could lead to thermal runaway? Will they do the right thing at that point or will they shut up shop like so many Solar related companies….

    Battery manufacturing being “unregulated” is a really dangerous standard to set when the whole country is going to be relying on them…..

    Insurance premiums are going to go though what’s left of the roof one day when they realize just how bad this whole scenario could be for home owners.

  3. Allan Smith says

    After being alerted to the problems with this battery and several exchanges with my supplier who also contacted LG on my behalf they determined that my battery was not one of the affected units. However LG have organised for a firmware update which is due to happen next week. So can I assume that my battery will be throttled back to a 75% charge and how can I find out if this is the case?

  4. Peter Cook says

    After over 12 months of having no battery due to mine failing with a massive expansion of the battery pack that bent the case severely, the new battery was installed under warranty. I received a compensation payout but the replacement battery is set to 75% capacity. I am not getting any response from LG as to when the capacity will be restored to 100%.

  5. Duncan McKillop says

    Well, thank you for that article. Last year or maybe the year before when I checked my serial number for my RESU 10 it was not part of the recall. Today it is part of the recall. Surprisingly it was registered with LG on the website at the time of commissioning but I have not had a single alert or contact from LG. It was installed 20/05/2020 and had 99% SOH and 263 cycles, so not a great deal of use.

    • Duncan McKillop says

      An update on the recall process.
      1. I filled in the LG website recall information page and clicked “submit” and was then presented with a blank screen, “S312058.t.eloqua.com”
      2. I did this again with the same result.
      3. I phoned LG and spoke with a representative who kept asking if I was phoning because of an email I had received from LG. The answer was no.
      He then checked the serial numbers and confirmed that the battery was in the recall but his system was showing that the battery had already been replaced. It has never been replaced and I have never had an issue with the battery.
      4. I have requested an email to confirm the phone conversation with respect to registering for a recall.

    • I think they’ve changed service agents for warranty stuff, as they likewise said they didn’t have serial numbers for either of my batteries, despite both being registered with LG, and previous comms with LG direct.

      Last time LG arranged everything via my installer, and that was very smooth. This time they are using SolarServiceGuys for all of it.

  6. After reading some of the comments here about people experiencing with LG, I see that I have had a similar experience with them.
    My battery was not part of the recall but was required to have an “update”. This happened yesterday and today I have a fault on the inverter (error 703) and no lights on the battery.
    Contacted them this morning and am waiting to hear back from them. sigh!

    • Stephen Baines says

      The person on the phone DID say to me that if the new software they download DOES diagnose a fault then the whole battery will be shut down, with no way to repower it up for safety reasons. So it sounds like the new software did find a fault on yours to me.

      If it is doesn’t find a fault it’ll be kept at 75% until they are ready with yet another new software update to release it.

      In the meantime they’ll pay you compensation at the rates given in the docs they send you.

      • Thank you for your comments.
        The battery continued to operate after the new software was installed. From what I can see online and checking the monitoring of my solar system once the battery discharged after 8pm it stopped monitoring my solar system. Previously it monitored the system 24 hours, and I could see my usage at night. Now it only monitors while the solar system in generating.
        I guess I will have to wait and see when they contact me.
        The technician that did the work here on Monday was from Solar Service Guys in Queensland and was heading down to Newcastle for the week.

  7. Allan Smith says

    We’re in a bind hey? Given my battery is/has been performing well and it wasn’t listed as one of the faulty units, and the collective comments here about changed performance, I would prefer that the service guys don’t touch it next week and leave the software alone. However I am sure that if we refuse the upgrade, our warranties will be null and void and any insurer would use this as a reason not to agree to any claim submitted for damage caused by a faulty battery.

    • The change in performance is temporary until the final patch is released or your battery is replaced. Given a choice of a few weeks/months of inconvenience or a catastrophic fire and months to years of battling insurers, I know which is preferable to me.

      • Allan Smith says

        Agreed Stephen assuming that all these battery models are faulty and not just the ones that have been identified at risk which mine wasn’t, unless I’ve missed something or LG isn’t being completely transparent about things. Given the management of this whole recall, the length of time it has taken, lack of response, negative impact on batteries after software fixes, it would suggest that all these batteries are in fact potentially faulty and require replacement. Alternatively LG should be upfront with me and say, “Although your battery has not been identified as faulty, in the interests of safety we are providing a firmware update that improves safety. It affects your battery and system’s performance in the following ways…and you can expect a reduced performance for at least 3+ months before we can again begin a round of software updates that may bring your battery back to its promised performance.” For a company as large and successful as LG, this is very poor corporate behaviour.

        • They know there is a problem with some cells but I suspect they haven’t a clue exactly which ones are affected using their standard firmware & monitors going through inverters like the SolarEdge ones, and cells weren’t individually serialised at that time, so are trying to prevent it running out of control and killing the whole businesses reputation whilst they work out which ones are behaving oddly.

          When my Battery 1 had an issue in 2019 the RESU10H was still a fairly new device with a low install base, and it was relatively easy to catch-and-kill. They knew who I was, and it was quickly dealt with, and I was actually left reassured and happy.

          Now Battery 2 is involved in another recall, there evidently hasn’t been a good enough method of registering batteries with LG by installers and customers, or their systems when receiving that data was poor, and they’re struggling to deal with it. It looks seriously out of control.

          What I don’t understand is why they are funnelling everything through a Queensland installer who doesn’t appear to have an install base across Australia, and how they are going to handle it across the country and different jurisdictions.

    • Allan Smith says

      It would seem the Solar Service Guys have the National contract for this. They are the guys coming here to my place in Adelaide next week.

      • Are you sure? They were going to be visiting me the same week, but they’d put my address down as NSW… On the phone they said they aren’t in Adelaide for a long while yet so can’t give me any idea when it will be looked at.

        • Allan Smith says

          Guy came today. Checked current status of battery – came back no fault. Installed update and checked that it was performing as expected. Told me that eventually all these batteries would be replaced with a new one and new 10 year warranty. Took 15 mins all up.

  8. Had a thought overnight, and it might be something that the Solarquotes team can offer some input on.

    Under Australian consumer law, the installer is liable for faults (however unfair that may be).

    LG are sending someone other than the installer to “do things”. That’s cutting the installer out of the loop. Does that potentially get the installer off the hook for any future faults that occur, with them being able to say that someone else tampered with the system and modified it, and faults with the inverter etc (as someone has reported above) are not their fault anymore?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Stephen, Ronald here.

      Because the installers who are replacing or working on the batteries are authorized agents of the manufacturer there should be no issues under Australian Consumer Law. If the authorized representatives cause a problem it should be on the manufacturer. That said, I’m not a lawyer, so this is not a professional opinion.

      • Their latest email to me offering an appointment at the wrong address (always reassuring – they did get the house number correct) tries to deal with this issue as well.

        “Your original installer remains your primary contact for all service, however in this case LG Energy Solution has contracted us, the Solar Service Guys to complete an inspection and service on your LG RESU Battery.
        If you have any concerns please contact your original installer to confirm this arrangement.
        Alternatively please contact the LG recall line on – 1300 677 273.”

        After a phone call, I’m now further on than I was in December with them having no idea about when someone will be with me. I am rapidly losing all confidence.

  9. So, if I am offered a package today, which includes a LG battery, would it be safe or should I avoid at all costs?

  10. “UPDATE”
    My battery was replaced on Monday 12th June and I was asked to monitor it for a week to confirm it was working okay. I can confirm that everything is okay. I have noticed that I have more power in the battery. ie it takes longer to charge in the morning and also discharge at night. The battery health is 100% whilst before the original battery was around 80% earlier in the year when last checked. It was installed Febuary 2017.

  11. They came in April and reduced to 75% then returned in May with an update, the Battery stopped working altogether we noticed In July, I tiold them, I was told on the phone that if the battery failed after the update it will be replaced or refunded I wa Its now been over 5 weeks since the battery stopped working I was told to send in a recipet as due to the failure i was now eleigable for a refund as that is what the software update was designed to determine. They are coming today to get more codes to supply LG to see why it failed. I told them I want a refund so i can buy another system from a different company they now have said they cant refund until they have seen the codes. I told them under My consumer rights that I am not happy with this item and want a refund regardless, as far as I am concerned this product does not perform as advertised, and is a potential hazard regardles off these patch fixes and It has now failed. My next step is to start a class action. It does say on the recall site that you are eligable for a refund. Incidently Electricity bill is really no different I worked out it will take roughly 16 years for a battery to pay for itself 6 years longer than its actual lifespan

  12. Nigel Wadsworth says

    The Solar Service Guys came onsite (regional Qld) at the end of June 2023 and reduced maximum to 75%. Haven’t heard anything since then, so I might shoot them an email. Battery working well otherwise, I’d like another one 🙂

  13. Well it’s September 2023 and we have just applied for the Solar Vic interest free battery loan based on the fitting of LG Energy Solution RESU10.
    Has the LG battery issue been resolved successfully or are we heading into a minefield?

    • Well I first contacted them in December 2022, after the recall started, and I’m still waiting, and can’t get any sense out of Solar Service Guys either. I think it’s fair to say my confidence in LG is totally shot.

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