Many of us dread getting the latest electricity bill, especially during the winter months. However, a woman in Erie, Pennsylvania couldn’t believe her eyes which she checked her electricity account online. You could say the electric company had laid a heavy charge against her in the sum of a huge $284 billion.

Woman receives shock from online electricity bill

Mary Horomanski, 58, was shocked, to say the very least, when she checked her account online to find a whopping outstanding balance of $284 billion. Don’t quote me on this, but I'm pretty certain that amount could power a whole state for a month.

Horomanski told the Erie Times-News that her eyes almost popped right out of her head when she saw the amazing total due on her electricity bill. She said the family had just installed their Christmas lights and she started wondering if they had put them up all wrong.

Misplaced decimal point leads to billion dollar error

According to a report by the Associated Press, it wasn’t all bad news – Horomanski was being given a full year to pay off the bill, with a minimum payment of “only” $28,156. Obviously, the shocked electricity consumer believed there was some kind of billing error. When her son called Penelec, the electricity company in question, it turned out there was, indeed, an error.

As in the decimal point was very much in the wrong place. The actual bill turned out to be only $284.46 which, while still pretty high, was a little more manageable and at least they didn't turn off her power in the meantime.

The Erie Times-News quotes a spokesman for First Energy, Penelec’s parent company, as telling them he had never previously seen an electricity bill running into billions of dollars.

However, Mark Durbin did say the company was appreciative that Horomansky reached out to them about the error.

Horomanski did tell the newspaper that she was inspired to add something to her Christmas wishlist – she reportedly told her son she wanted a heart monitor, to handle any future bill shocks.

Technology glitches can lead to huge bills

According to the Huffington Post, this isn’t the first time someone has been hit with an exceptionally high bill. They quote the case of a British woman who was on vacation in South Wales in August 2012 and bought herself a throwaway cellphone because her existing one was having problems picking up the local signal. After a technical glitch with the cellphone, she ended up getting billed for over $42,000. While the cellphone was cheap, it turned out not to be an affordable alternative after all.