The Holiday season usually brings cheer, presents, and a slightly higher utility bill but a woman from Pennsylvania receives a shocking $284 billion electric bill instead.

The summarized amount was reportedly due in November 2018, with $28,000 required to be paid before the end of the month.

Normally, the colder weather does cause an increased usage of heating inside the home. Furthermore, Christmas lights and other holiday decoration that light up likewise bump up power consumption.

Unexpected Error

The additional use of electricity could add a small extra on top of the usual amount due, which could have been an acceptable reason during special situations. However, such a large amount for a small household definitely seems like an error.

Fortunately, the homeowner's son contacted the electricity company to complain about the bill. It was eventually confirmed by the firm that a glitch allegedly caused the mistake.

Penelec, the power company involved, officially confirmed that her total bill was only $284.46, which was still higher than most, according to sources. Nevertheless, it's a far better value compared to the initial $284 billion wrongly owed in the first place.

A Shocking Turnout

It was reported that 58-year old Mary Horomanski went online to check her power bill. "My eyes just about popped out of my head," described the homeowner. "We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong." 

As a comparison, the $284 billion power bill is apparently bigger than the combined national debt of South Africa and Hungary.

Penelec Explains

Even the power company was caught by surprise once they received word regarding the billing error. According to First Energy, Penelec's parent company, the amount in question was unprecedented and obviously questionable.

It was speculated that a currently unknown error could have caused the system to move the decimal point multiple times.

Mark Durbin, a First Energy spokesman, notes that the customer's decision to contact the firm about the suspected mistake was the right thing to do.

"We appreciate the customer's willingness to reach out to us about the mistake," said Durbin.

Meanwhile, the shock from the incorrect electric bill must have greatly affected Horomanski. She claims that the incident prompted her to ask her son for "a heart monitor" as a Christmas present instead.

Other Reported Incidents

One incident happened in South Wales in August 2012, wherein a British woman purchased what was described as a cheap mobile phone due to technical problems with her existing one. It was reported that a problem with her network provider's system got her a bill for more than $42,000

In July of the same year, a man from Nashville, Tennessee, was apparently charged $84,522.54 because of a bank error. The incident supposedly happened after he paid for a $30 tank of gas.

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