Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls For Immediate Replacement Of Explosive Batteries In U-Verse Service

January 22, 2008

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced today that he has called for the immediate replacement of certain lithium batteries - used as backup power for AT&T's U-Verse video service - that have caused at least four explosions, fires and property damage.

AT&T has installed "V-RAD" boxes around the state in order to provide its U-Verse service. According to numerous published reports, at least four Avestor lithium batteries, which provide backup power to the boxes, have exploded violently, creating fires and property damage, but fortunately injuring no one.

The Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), which has an open proceeding to consider the safety of the V-RAD boxes, earlier this week asked AT&T to provide information about the exploding lithium batteries by Jan. 25, including details about how many Avestor lithium batteries are in Connecticut.

In a letter to the DPUC, Blumenthal said the DPUC should order that AT&T immediately - not after answering more answers - replace all Avestor batteries that may be in Connecticut because these batteries could pose a serious and imminent threat to the safety of Connecticut residents.

"An in-depth investigation is wise - but immediate action is vital to replace potentially explosive batteries that threaten lives and property," Blumenthal said. "With multiple alarming reports of explosions, fires and property damage, we cannot delay a week, or potentially longer, for detailed answers when action is necessary. Immediate replacement of Avestor lithium batteries, which provide only backup power, should impose no disruption to AT&T's U-Verse service."

AT&T has indicated that it intends to replace 17,000 batteries "as soon as possible." The DPUC is waiting for details from AT&T about how many of those batteries may be in Connecticut, as well as other answers. None of the reported explosions occurred in Connecticut.