Christmas lights and other decorations, as festive as they are, can cause people to see their electricity bills rise during the holiday season. For one Pennsylvanian woman, this was all too true.
Stay-at-home mother of five Mary Horomanski was stunned when she logged in to pay her electric bill and found that it was much higher than normal, a few billion dollars higher in fact. The bill, a grand total of $284,460,000, left Horomanski feeling shocked and frantic.
"When you see something like that, your heart starts beating, you break out into a little sweat, like 'What on earth just happened,'" she stated in an interview with The Washington Post.
The full amount wasn't due for another year, but Horomanski's first payment of a measly $28,176 was due right away.
"It wasn't due until November of 2018," she explained. "It was like, well, I guess we have a year to come up with this billion-dollar bill."
In a moment of sheer panic, Horomanski and her sons looked around the home to try to evaluate how much electricity they had actually been using.
"We had Christmas lights outside, but we don't have the 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' lights," she explained.
As they scanned the home looking for the source of the astronomical bill, Horomanski decided that there was simply no feasible way her bill could be that high.
She texted an image of the bill to one of her sons, who contacted Penelec, the electric company, to see how they could have racked up a charge that expensive. Thankfully, the electric company quickly reassured Horomanski's son that the bill was a mistake and the correct amount owed was $284.46. While that figure was still higher than last month's bill of $161, it was a major relief for the Horomanskis.
What started out as a moment of terror has now turned into a family joke for the Horomanskis. Mary Horomanski explained to the newspaper that the insane billion-dollar bill even caused her to add another item to her Christmas list.
"I told my son I want a heart monitor," she said.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Charles Platiau