LG Home Battery Recall A Hot Mess?

LG solar battery recall in Australia

There are unsettling aspects to an ongoing recall of certain LG home batteries and battery packs also used by six other brands. Maybe LG will see this article and finally shed some light.

The history of this saga to date, as I understand it:

LG Energy Solution (previously LG Chem) implemented a voluntary recall in the USA in late 2020 after reports of fires associated with some LG Chem RESU 10H  battery systems.

In February 2021, a recall notice went up on the Product Safety Australia web site indicating certain LG battery models and battery packs used by other brands produced between March 2017 and September 2018 from specific production lots were affected. The notice mentioned:

“the batteries may overheat and catch on fire”.

At that point in time, it looked be only a few hundred units in Australia affected by the recall.

A new/updated recall notice was published in March this year, indicating other brands using affected LG battery packs:

  • SolaX (X-cabinet, PowerStation)
  • Opal Storage (rebadged SolaX).

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

Well, you’d think so anyway.

Dodgy LG Solar Battery Impact Spreads

But then in May this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressed serious concern that *6,400* of the recalled batteries had not been replaced, and that some owners may not be aware of the recall and the fire risk.

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

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

LG Fails To Respond To Questions

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

Silence.

I then decided to send those questions to LG via the email address listed on the Product Safety Recall page. The following is the content of an email sent on August 25:

—–

Hi,

 

I work with SolarQuotes. I’m of the understanding there is still an active recall on certain LG batteries, which I’ve covered a few 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 point in time, how many affected units have still not been located?

 

– When an affected system is identified, how long does it generally take for the owner to receive the short term fix (dropping the maximum state of charge of an affected system to 75 per cent)?

 

– How long does it generally take before the owner receives a replacement battery?

 

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

 

– Why is it taking so long to track down all the affected systems?

 

Thanks,

 

Michael Bloch

—-

The result? Silence.

I re-sent the same email on September 1. At the time of publishing there still hasn’t been a reply. Maybe LG are just flat out replacing batteries (after 18 months or so) and don’t have time to respond to the likes of me.

A Pissed-Off (And Nervous) LG Battery Owner

But just on that – adding to the unsettling general nature of the situation was a review posted to SolarQuotes’ LG Energy Solution’s review page back in May by a system owner who claimed his two batteries were initially limited to 75% capacity by LG remotely per the interim fix.

But …

“With increasing swelling of the cells it was deemed that they pose too high a risk and have been shut down.”

Swelling of the cells? Eek!

The owner claimed he had waited 9 months for replacement of his batteries at that point.

“LG have refused to remove the fire risk from under my house – in fact under the floor of my master bedroom…. They keep offering to pay for our electricity at 30c/kW (after they’ve eventually replaced the system – date likely to be a YEAR), but won’t give me a date to remove the potential fireballs under my house.”

I’ve tried contacting the reviewer to find out whether the batteries have finally been removed and replaced since, but didn’t receive a reply.

Home batteries are still fairly new tech and have been plagued by issues if testing by the Canberra Battery Test Centre is generally indicative of quality and reliability. With that in mind, SolarQuotes has advised if Australians are going to buy a battery, make sure it’s from a solid company that will stand by its products.

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

How To Check A Battery (And Do It Now)

Given the serious nature of the issue, owners of LG solar batteries or any of the brands mentioned above should see instructions on this page (updated) on how to identify an affected system. Don’t put it off – do it right now. If you know of someone who could potentially have one of the affected products, do them a favour and point the person to that page. It could save their home – and their life.

For any questions or further information required, the ACCC advises contacting LG Energy Solution Australia’s product department via phone on 1300 677 273 or email at [email protected] – and I hope you have better luck than me if you email them.

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

IMPORTANT: November 2022 Update

November 21, 2022: The ACCC announced today it will be directly contacting almost 5,000 households that are likely to have what the Commission refers to as “dangerous” LG solar batteries in the coming weeks. LG has also advised the ACCC the company identified around 10,000 additional batteries that are at risk of overheating. So, if you’ve been given the all-clear before, best to check again. I’ve also updated the instructions link above as it appears LG pulled down the original page without providing a link to the new instructions.

The ACCC says 2,900 batteries have been replaced or removed from premises to date. A further 1,400 batteries have been switched off or had their maximum charge capacity reduced to 75 per cent to reduce the risk of overheating while waiting for a replacement or refund.

Footnotes

  1. I’m informed all Redback systems affected by the recall have been located and the majority of batteries replaced as at September 14, 2022. UPDATE 21 September 2022. Redback states: “Further to the initial LG recall, Redback Technologies have identified the homeowners who have affected LG batteries listed in the latest recall and are working with LG to notify and replace these units. Redback Technologies also stopped selling LG batteries in 2019.”
  2. RedEarth have told me the company no longer uses LG battery packs. UPDATE: Shortly after publishing, a RedEarth spokesperson supplied the following statement:
    “RedEarth has been working 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 per cent of affected RedEarth customers have already had their batteries replaced with either new LG batteries or RedEarth’s own LFP battery, Troppo. The batteries that haven’t been replaced yet have been disabled, and customers will receive compensation for the number of days without a battery from LG; all relevant customers have been notified. We hope to complete the replacement program by the end of this month.”
    UPDATE 2: RedEarth subsequently noted: “Some of the replacements have been scheduled for October based on the availability of customers, so we hope to have the replacement program completed next month.”
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. George Kaplan says

    LG (Electronics?) was one of the premium solar brands so it follows that LG Chem should be pretty good, as should LG Energy Solutions, the new battery subsidiary. Unfortunately it appears that not only are all three different companies, but that LG Energy Solutions isn’t living up to the wider corporate standard of quality.

    On a side note, and please correct me if I’m wrong but are the LG batteries the old school chemical batteries, or ‘Tesla style’ lithium-ion? I know less about batteries than I do solar, and most of what I’m reading suggests the latter, but I thought I’d seen the former claimed somewhere. Unfortunately I can’t see anything explicitly stating one way or the other. Given a relative recently made a comment something along the lines of lithium-ion being far more prone to fires and problems than old school batteries, I’m curious.

    • Michael Bloch stated in the previous article that:

      The LG Chem RESU is a lithium-ion battery storage system that uses lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cells.

    • John Mitchell says

      LG Chem are Lithium Ion not Lead acid. While lithium ion batteries are extremely dangerous in a thermal runaway situation this *shouldn’t* happen if properly managed by the BMS and there are no manufacturing defects. Unfortunately from the Kona and Bolt EV scandals, we know LG Chem seemed to have a had a faulty machine in the manufacturing line that caused cells with defects which led to short circuits and thermal runaway. It appears these same cells may have been used in home energy storage – or it could simply be a separate issue.

      I would stick to LiFePO4 for home batteries as it is much safer. While technically it can still be involved in a thermal runaway situation they are much more robust and far less likely to do so. And all you do is trade off a bit of energy density – they weigh a bit more and take up a bit more space. They’re also usually rated for far more cycles LMNC.

  2. My situation is exactly the same as your example. Battery is on the recall list. Battery has expanded and blown out the bottom of the case. LG are aware and have done nothing to assist apart from missing ETA’s.

    • I have a LG RESU13 model and was assured at the time of the first recall that my model was not affected based on the Serial number. However I also noticed the subsequent recall notices being expanded however when trying to enter the number on their online site, I am told it’s “not a valid serial number.” It is, and this has been confirmed by my installer, however they encountered the same challenge. The installer is trying to find out more with LG direct and promised to get back to me. Fortunately the battery is performing as promised at this time.

      • When I was checking my Serial number on my RESU13 I was initially only entering the top line and getting the “not a valid serial number” issue. I realised I had to add the second line at the end of the first to make the check successful.

      • Yes my RESU13 WAS FAULTY. LG said no more if them are available. My replacement would be RRSU12. LG would pay $1000 compo for smaller battery and for loss of solar input. I bought a second LG RESU 10 for the RRSU12. The replacement for the faulty battery was a RESU13 ( which was supposed NOT to be available???). Now 7 months later I still do not have my system working. Bloody nightmare with LG.

    • Jim Buckland says

      Hi Peter, your battery sounds bad, ours is not (yet) showing problems but they restricted its capacity by 20% 13 months ago with repeated promises of a replacement last February, June, October…….. I am calling Fair Trading tomorrow to see if they can apply some pressure.
      Regards, Jim Buckland.

  3. James Winters says

    I’m in exactly the same boat – I’ve been contacting my installer and LG-Chem for well over a year. On the last phone call I was promised a response, which i still haven’t had.

    I just want these batteries removed and a refund given, the situation is ridiculous.

  4. alan johnson says

    hi,in regard to my own situation with this recall i bought an lg chem 10kwh battery in December 2018 with the intension to buy the main components and have a solar expert install them as a system.
    When i did find out about this recall and made enquires by phone to lg i was told that if i was not an installer and couldn”t name who was going to install,
    then i could not make a claim.
    i have however spoken to someone at LG energy solutions recently and was assured i would get some action,so my fingers are crossed.

    regards,
    Alan Johnson

  5. Trevor Jolly says

    A universal wisdom: ‘If it works don’t fix it.’
    NONE of this crap (including constant/dependence/ control of something you”ve bought and paid for!) was ever an issue with a bank of deep-cycle AGM lead-acid batteries.(or even old truck batteries from the motor wrecker. And I speak as someone who (personally) installed his first solar system in 1980 and installed/helped install probably over 1000 systems since. I’m currently in a ‘unit’ and offgrid, living comfortably with a 2.5kW used system ought for $230, and 720 ah of above-described batteries which came with a 3-year UNCONDITIONAL guarantee (which expired 3 years ago!) and cost me less than $2 per ah.
    Along the way I’ve acquired 12 other l/a batteries which provide an alternative that can be fitted to any other purposes because of their BASIC/SIMPLE applications.
    And NEVER had a problem. If it works…..

  6. I have an LG RESU 13, purchased about 18 months ago. When installed I had the installer limit the minimum SOC to 20% before it shuts down. I saw this in the battery specs as recommended. Could the fault be caused by hammering the battery often to low SOC?? I have had no trouble at all, but I’ll keep an eye on it. Tks for the tip. BTW I also started with a second hand set of lead acid batteries, a set of mobile phone tower back ups. Found out that back 7 years ago Telstra changed them over every few years.

  7. john zentveld says

    We have had an LG RESU10 since 2018. It has been listed in the recall group since sometime in July 2021 and remotely derated. I had emailed LG in December 2021 and January 2022 regarding the timeline for replacing the battery, they blamed the pandemic and global shortages for the delay and expected it to occur april /may 2022. in July 2022 I noticed the battery had swelled at the bottom of the case and turned it off. I then logged a request to be refunded rather than the replacement. LG responded to that email with a request for original invoices, bank accounts etc. We are now in October and have had no further response from LG as to when it will be removed and credits issued. During this process Ive worked with the original installer ( Juno Energy ) who have been excellent at 1. informing me of the original recall notice. 2. checking in with me occasionally if we have received any more information than they have from LG. 3. assisting with the formal request for a refund. 4. pre-ordering us a TESLA to replace the LG when it’s finally removed.

    In the early response given by LG for the delay in replacing the battery, they cite a lack of supply, however, since then I believe they have been running installers incentive programs for new installs of LG batteries, thus it would appear rather than replacing these existing faulty batteries and fixing existing customer sites, they would rather more sales.
    Im very disappointed in LG’s lack of response to this problem and think it reflects poorly on the LG brand ( they had similar problems years ago with phone batteries, you would think they learnt from that ). It would appear that without a house burning down and any negative press about the issue, they would prefer to do nothing.

  8. We were told to disconnect the batteries while waiting for them to be replaced – this lasted about 6 weeks (I believe they will pay some compensation for that period). Then they replaced them, but the batteries weren’t working (ie we were getting nothing back from them). Eventually, after much asking, they sent someone to look. He found they had been wired wrongly, so changed something, but was then unable to test them, because the batteries were too flat. We then had to wait longer (10 days+) until he could get permission to send someone else out, with a spare charger to put enough charge into the battery to test it. When they did this, they discovered one of the batteries was faulty, and it was preventing the others working. So, they reconnected some of the batteries, but we are still waiting for the faulty battery to be replaced. This has taken months, since they first contacted us re the batteries being recalled. It is certainly not well-managed. I would expected that any tradesman would be horrified if he didn’t get something right the first time. Making us wait and wait and wait again, becasue they don’t bring the correct things with them when they come to install/repair batteries is very inefficient, plus annoying to customers.

  9. Jim Buckland says

    After 13 months we have finally been contacted by an installer who is booked to come 28th November. I will post about what transpires.
    Regards, Jim Buckland.

  10. Susanne Koen says

    This is appalling! I got an email from ACCC yesterday, with my address in the body of the email, suggesting my LG RESU 13 could potentially be on the recall list and I should check the serial number. But I can’t access the serial number, as it sits under some conduits that cover it – WTF? Why place a serial number there? How am I supposed to know?
    I contacted my installer to see if he had a record (none on the paperwork – only the S/N of the inverter), but he’s wound down his business now and not super enthusiastic to be of help, even if he could be.
    I’ve emailed LG and phoned them (message left, as their operators on the ‘recall team’ are all busy), but no response yet.
    Reading through all the comments here, why aren’t we making more of a noise? These are expensive units and it sounds like we are all in potential danger.
    Who’s with me for taking up a more collective stance? ACCC? Ombudsman? Media?
    Keen to hear your thoughts

    • Hi Susanne,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been contacted and hope that it’s just precautionary. I rechecked mine recently. My Serial number is also below the conduit/cabling but I found that I could take a photo of it from the side using the camera on my phone. Maybe give that a try? We might have different set ups but hopefully there might be a way to read it from the wall side of the unit or something.

  11. My LG Batteries just stopped charging and discharging over the last few days. No notice just stopped. They are managed by REPOSIT so thought there may be an issue there, however it was fine.

    I checked the batteries when the original recall came out and they were good. I just checked them again today, and the RESU 6.5 kwh is on the recall list. Would this be the reason that the batteries have stopped discharging/charging? LG has remotely switched it off? If so, why wouldn’t the RESU10kwh be working? I have no warning lights on or anything and have reset the inverter but nothing.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Craig,

      The best place to go initially is the retailer that sold you the battery. They are responsible. Are they still around? If not – go direct to LG Chem in Australia 1300 178 064 [email protected]

      Finn

      • Hey Finn
        Yeah they are still around, but like most are on a break this time of year. The comment was more to see if anyone had their batteries turned off by LG remotely. I’ll drop them a line too.
        Thanks
        Craig

  12. Our LG lasted 4 yrs, base began to swell, was replaced under wty….but with exact same battery, so now waiting for it to swell as well. My concern is are they (LG ) bandaiding me to get me to the end of my wty period and then I’m cast adrift. If/when this current battery faults, I’m of the view i might ask for a refund ( full amount $9500 ) and seek another manufacturer……comments

    • Jim Buckland says

      After 13 months of excuses we finally got our 10kw battery replaced, the installer, and LG, both maintained that the warranty for the replacement battery was the same as for the original, I.e. 10 years from the installation date of the replacement battery. I hope that is true!

  13. john zentveld says

    Ive had the same excuses for replacing the battery, then is swelled up and because of the poor handling of the fault by LG I opted to get a refund and replace it with a TESLA. The battery was finally removed in late October with a promise to receive the refund in 20-30 days tops. In December when I had still not gotten the refund, I escalated that issue, after several emails I got a response that the case had gone to LG ( from the company managing the recall ) on the 6th of December and expect the payment by the 3rd week of December. Im still waiting for that payment.
    Im amazed how poorly its being handled and I expect no oversight from the ACCC.
    I would never get another LG product after seeing how little they care about rectifying something which has a risk of causing house fires. The recall notice was sent in June 2021

  14. I had a contractor come out and update the firmware on my battery. The contractor had no idea what the firmware “upgrade” was doing (I find that had to believe being a solar sparky myself I know this is a lie).
    My battery has been reduced to 75% as I can see on the sunny island remote so its obvious what the firmware did…just odd that they claim to not know.
    I rang their offices and they couldn’t tell me either but said they would contact me to let me know. That was a week ago now.
    I sent an email to the email address in this article as well as an email via their website. Will wait to hear and will post here when I hear something.

    • Jim Buckland says

      They cut our battery to 75% remotely then informed us later. We finally got a replacement battery 13 months later after many phone calls. The contractor who did the work pointed out a very small bend in the bottom of the battery case which he said indicated a problem. The new battery is working well.

  15. Just been advised by a re-seller that someone will be around to throttle our battery back to 75% tomorrow.
    However, they said there were no plans to replace our bettery.

    Read through the compensation notice from LG and then called LG.
    I asked if they’re not planning to replace it, how are they going to pay compensation indefinitely?
    She was polite but couldn’t answer the question.

    Is anyone else in this boat where they’ve throttled the battery back but aren’t planning to replace it?

    How have people gone on getting compensation and has it been reasonable?

    Should I be pushing for a full refund?

    Would love some guidance on how to best proceed.
    Thanks Tony

    • Im dealing with the same thing. Sending requests for updates every couple of days to LG and their lead lag solutions which ive received a request for proof that the battery has been reduced but Im still yet to receive a response.

      Seems like they just dont care and will continue to ignore till I get tired of asking..which wont happen.

      Ill contact the ACCC this week to see what can be done.

  16. Maybe a class action lawsuit will get their attention.
    Any lawyers in the house that could advise?

  17. Jim Buckland says

    Class actions often only benefit the legal teams. We waited 13 months for our battery to be replaced then just one month later we were given a $250 credit straight into our bank account. So all resolved, just took time.

  18. I have had 3 LG RESU10H batteries now, all failed.

    Installed Jun 2018
    Failed & Replaced Jan 2020 swelled
    Failed & Replaced Feb 2021 swelled
    Failed Aug 2023 dropped dead

    No nore replacements for me, it’s time for a full refund and compensation from LG.
    The local installer has been great, but the best dealer in the world can’t make up for a dud product.

    C

  19. Hi,

    I’ve just discovered that both our of LG batteries are on the recall list. After contacting LG yesterday, I was told that one needs a software update, but they don’t think they will be able to do it on our system for some reason.

    They told me the second one needs to be replaced, but they can’t replace ‘like for like’ as it’s not compliant! WAIT! WHAT?

    We are completely off-grid (not hybrid) so are not able to disconnect the batteries.

    Spoke to installer today and he said that he has certificate of compliance.

    Is anyone else in this situation, please? I don’t know if this now affects our house insurance. I’m at a total loss, with no answers, other than the lady from LG saying ‘You are between a rock and hard place. Sorry, I haven’t got any better news for you.

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