Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is urging the community to always ensure they use manufacturer-approved batteries and chargers when powering electrical appliances.
The warning follows a series of fires, reported to ESV, caused by the use of incompatible batteries and chargers to power electrical tools and gardening appliances.
Non-manufacturer approved, or aftermarket, batteries and chargers present risks as they are potentially made of sub-standard cells or different chemistry, which may be incompatible with the original equipment or charger.
ESV was notified of a fire at a Frankston home on 10 November, when a resident was charging a lithium-ion battery that was purchased online for a hedge trimmer. The battery was not sold by the original manufacturer, potentially did not comply with Australian Standards and was not compatible with the trimmer charger. Fortunately, no one was injured and damage was minor.
This type of incident is not new to ESV, which has investigated a series of similar incidents over the past few years. In June 2021, a fire was started while a tradesperson was charging batteries used for various tools in his Garfield shed. The batteries were aftermarket and incompatible with the original equipment. The resulting fire damaged the tools and the shed.
In January 2021, ESV investigated a fire at a Bell Park property started by a battery that powered an electric-powered bicycle. The original battery pack had been replaced by a non-compatible battery, which resulted in a fire spreading to nearby cardboard boxes, causing significant damage in the shed.
ESV Chairperson and Commissioner Marnie Williams advised Victorians to ensure they used the right equipment to charge their devices. “
There’s a very good reason why these electrical product manufacturers also produce corresponding batteries and chargers,” Ms Williams said. “You might think using non-compliant chargers and batteries that appear to have similar connections are safe, but in most cases they are not. “To avoid the risk of a fire, please ensure you’re always using the right batteries and chargers.”
Ms Williams also urged Victorians to ensure they always use manufacturer-approved chargers for their mobile phones to avoid fire and property damage.
Reviewed 24 January 2023