ABILENE, Texas - Kristin Harriger knows that her electricity bills rise in the hot Texas summer months, but she didn't think things would get really expensive until August.
When she opened her bill from Dallas-based Potentia Energy, however, she was, for want of a better word, shocked.
Total amount due: $1,381,783.92.
"I opened it. I read it. Then just went, 'Oh, my gosh. That's a lot of money,' " Harriger said.
Her modest home isn't exactly the latest in energy efficiency, she said. But her previous bill was just $100.78.
She said she snapped a photograph of the bill with her phone and immediately called her service provider. Within four minutes, Harriger said, they had someone from billing on the line, apologizing profusely and promising to get to the bottom of the situation.
"It was either computer error or human error, they said. They said they would look into it, and send me a new bill right away," she said.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas website powertochoose.org shows current electricity rate offers in Abilene ranging from 8.2 cents to 12.1 cents per kilowatt-hour. Harriger's bill said she was being charged 100,000 cents, or $1,000, per kwh.
She said the company told her that if the issue was not resolved by the due date on the bill, Harriger wouldn't be held responsible for the amount -- or the $66,000 late fee.
"I've been pretty calm about it," Harriger said. "I mean, I've seen medical bills higher than that. I'm just glad I opened the bill and not my father, who has a heart condition."
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