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$1.3 million utility bill? Monthly payment stuns Texas woman.

$1.3  million utility bill sent to a woman in Abilene, Texas was so huge she thought it was a joke. She is still waiting for  a replacement for her $1.3 million utility bill.

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A utility meter is seen at the home of Darrell Brubaker in Elizabethtown, Pa., in this 2008 file photo. Kristin Harriger from Abilene, Texas, was stunned to receive a $1.3 million utility bill in the mail.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File

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For Abilene, TX. resident Kristin Harriger, skipping bills is out of the question, even when summertime
sends her electric bill soaring.

"I work on a budget. I'm a single mom with an autistic child who tries to make ends meet," she told Business Insider. "I get my bills and I pay them."

That was until this month's electric bill turned up in the mail. Rather than the $100 or so she anticipated, she was in for a shock.

Balance due: $1,381,783.92. 

The $1.3 million utility bill was so enormous she figured it was a joke and texted photos around to friends. When she called the utility company, Potentia Energy, representatives readily admitted it was a computing error that somehow managed to slip through a third party auditor.

Rather than charging the usual $0.09 per kilowatt hour (kWh), Harriger had been billed a whopping 100,000 cents ($1,000) per kwh.

"I'm glad I didn't have autopayments (set up), I'll tell you that," she said. 

The company promised she'd receive a corrected bill in the mail within 48 hours. That was more than two weeks ago.

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"I'm still waiting," said Harriger, who usually pays her bills early and online. "I've been with this company for almost a year and a half and I've never had a bill like this."

We reached out to the company, which said it's definitely on track to have the bill to Harriger this week. 

"When Ms. Harringer informed us of the erroneous bill, we responded within five minutes and assured her that we would rectify the situation, which is what we have done," said Sehr Charania, external affairs officer. "I have confirmed that the erroneous bill has been rectified and a new/correct invoice has been issued in its place as of this week. Ms. Harriger should be receiving it in her mail shortly."

The situation will surely work itself out––there's no way Harriger will be on the hook for any late fees on this one––but in the meantime, she's not taking any chances. 

"I gave $150 to my dad to hold on to for the bill," she said. "If I know that money's in my account, I'm one of those people who's going to spend it." 

Smart move.


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