A Pennsylvania woman was stunned to find she owed her electric company, Penelec, more than $284 billion after checking her bill online.
“My eyes just about popped out of my head,” said Mary Horomanski, 58, in an interview with GoErie. “We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong.”
Thankfully, the figure turned out to be a mistake. After seeing the bill, Horomanski texted her son, who in turn called the electric company. Penelec corrected the mistake and readjusted her balance due to the correct amount: $284.46.
“I can’t recall ever seeing a bill for billions of dollars,” said Mark Durbin, a spokesman for Penelec’s parent company First Energy, in an interview. “We appreciate the customer’s willingness to reach out to us about the mistake.”
Horomanski joked that she asked her son for a different Christmas gift after seeing the oversized bill: “a heart monitor.”
Horomanski joins the ranks of other Americans who have mistakenly been overcharged for utilities and other services. In July a Florida couple were billed after a car with the same license plate number as theirs passed through several tolls without paying.
A billing error by the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board charged the Reaping the Harvest Baptist Church 25 times the usual amount. The church had an auto-draft set up on its account, so $2,538 was automatically deducted. The pastor, Troy Lawrence, went to the S&WB office in person to complain.
In another case a Florida man opened up a bill for $12,000 from his electric company. He was able to negotiate it down to $7,000 but was told he’d been underbilled for the last 13 months and had to pay the balance.