Information from: Times Recorder,

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Lewis Miller joked with his son as he opened his gas bill that the amount likely would give him a heart attack. Then, he saw that The Energy Cooperative of Newark had billed him $8,095 for the first nine days of service on his new account for his apartment.

“I thought I was just going to lay down and die,” Miller said. He then had an anxious weekend because he received the bill Friday and couldn’t get a hold of the gas company until Monday.

When Miller reached the Energy Cooperative, the error was corrected.

Brian Byrd, a spokesman for the utility, said the company apologized to Miller for its mistake.

“These things are very rare, but they can happen,” Byrd said.

The company suspects that a contractor mixed up or misread the numbers while taking a reading of Miller’s meter. The information is downloaded into a computer that checks for billing errors by looking at what a customer was charged in the past. Since Miller’s account was new, there was nothing to compare it to, Byrd said.