LG Chem Recalls Home Battery Systems After Reports of Fires

LG Chem Ltd. is voluntarily recalling some models of its home energy storage batteries in the U.S. over concerns they could overheat and start fires.

The South Korean industrial giant is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the recall after the company received reports of five fires with its battery systems that caused limited property damage and no injuries, according to a recall notice seen by Bloomberg.

LG Energy Solution Co., formed this month after LG moved to split off its energy storage and electric-vehicle battery business, is working with related companies to determine the cause, it said in an emailed statement. Customers will be offered free replacements of some batteries as a preemptive measure, the company said.

The impacted units were sold by various distributors of solar energy systems including Sunrun Inc. from January 2017 through March 2019, the recall notice said. Cells in units being recalled are at risk of overheating, according to the notice.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is working with LG Chem on the recall, although it hasn’t set a date for an official announcement, spokesman Joseph Martyak said in a statement.

Sunrun said it affects about 5% of its Brightbox customers. The company’s shares fell as much as 2.5% Friday.

“We have already started proactively replacing batteries impacted by the recall and have credited customers for the brief downtime,” Sunrun spokesman Wyatt Semanek said in an email.

The recall comes as solar installers are offering batteries as part of their systems. Many homeowners want backup power to keep lights on during outages amid hurricanes, extreme heat or the threat of wildfires.

LG Chem supplied batteries to an energy storage facility owned by an Arizona Public Service utility that exploded last year and caused several injuries. The utility said the fire was caused by a defective cell. LG Chem disputed those findings.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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