WEATHERFORD, Texas – Penny Dawson thought her utility bill was getting a bit high. But nothing prepared her for a $24 billion bill.

Dawson was one of about 1,300 Weatherford utility customers who received billion-dollar bills in the mail this week.

Weatherford City Manager Bill Davis said a printing company had sent out final notices instead of late notices, which created the erroneous bills. It was unclear where the large numbers came from, he said.

Printing company DataProse said it was embarrassed by the mistake.

“Obviously, this is not something we are pleased about,” said Curtis Nelson, a DataProse vice president and general manager. The Irving, Texas-based company has a second location in California and processes about 5 million bills a month nationwide, he said.

Dawson said she opened her bill on Tuesday to find she had been charged $3.66, had a deposit of $71,222,200,601 and had a total amount due of $24,200,700,004.

“It’s the funniest thing I have ever seen,” she said. Her utility bills normally average $250.

“We would have had to flood the city over and over,” she said. “And we probably would never get to (that amount).”

Customers who received the wrong bill will be able to pay the amount owed in the next billing cycle without penalty, Davis said. The city said it has accurate records of customer balances for utility services including water and electric.

Dawson, 33, said she planned to hold on to the large bill – and maybe even frame it.

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