The holidays are supposed to be the time of the year when you reflect on all the good things in your life. Spending time with family, eating lots of good food, and catching a few days off of work are enough to put a smile on anyone’s face, but one Pennsylvania woman’s December glee turned to misery when she unwrapped a nasty gift from her electric company in the form of a $284 billion bill.
Yes, you ready that correctly. Mary Horomanski of Erie, Pennsylvania, logged in to her online utility account to discover a balance of $284,460,000,000. That’s not just enough to put a damper a holiday gift-buying, it’s also enough to put a dozen or so generations of the Horomanski family into inescapable debt. Tis’ the season!
“My eyes just about popped out of my head,” Horomanski told local news outlet GoErie. “We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong.”
The company, in the spirit of giving, only wanted a mere $28,156 upfront, and would give the family another 12 months or so to pay it off. Obviously, that total was still a bit outside what the Horomanski family was accustomed to paying, so she grabbed her phone and tried to get to the bottom of it all.
After speaking with her son, who promptly contacted the utility company, she learned that the entire episode had thankfully been nothing more than a bizarre error. Somehow, a decimal place in the customer’s normal bill total took a bit of a holiday vacation and traveled several decimal places to the right, turning a $284.46 total into something much, much higher.
A spokesperson for the company couldn’t explain exactly how it happened but noted that he had never seen anything like it. As for Mary Horomanski, she reportedly told her son that after seeing the bill she’d prefer a heart monitor for Christmas.