The ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ has nothing on this.
Due to a processing error made by her local power company, one Ohio woman discovered earlier this month – to her abject horror – that she owed Penelec, her power provider, $284 billion, a figure that’s larger than the combined national debts of Hungary and South Africa.
According to The Eerie Times News, Mary Horomanski discovered the error while she was checking her bill online. Initially, she wondered if the hefty charge was due to her Christmas decorations.
“My eyes just about popped out of my head,” said Horomanski, 58. “We had put up Christmas lights and I wondered if we had put them up wrong."
There was, of course, one small silver lining: According to her bill, Horomanski didn’t have to pay the entire $284,460,000 sum until November 2018. Her minimum payment for December was a relatively paltry $28,156. And Penelec hadn’t turned off her electricity – yet.
Fortunately for Horomanski, the issue was quickly resolved when she texted her son, who contacted the power company and told them about the bill. They confirmed that the sum was an error, and that Horomanski owed much, much less. Her online statement was quickly fixed to the correct amount: $284.46.
A spokesman for the power company said he doesn’t know how the error occurred but that it was obviously the result of somebody accidentally moving a decimal point nine digits to the right.
“I can’t recall ever seeing a bill for billions of dollars,” Durbin said. “We appreciate the customer’s willingness to reach out to us about the mistake."
The incident, Horomanski said, prompted her to ask for a different gift from her son this year.
“I told him I want a heart monitor,” she said.
And with that, the Horomanski’s Christmas was saved.