Typo Costs Man Thousands On Electric Bill; Company Stalling On Refund

A man in Rio Rancho, New Mexico made one typo on his electric bill, and he wound up paying more than he expected. And instead of getting an automatic refund, the electric company is taking its time in giving him back his money.

According to a report from KOB 4, Ira Karmiol used his bank’s bill pay feature to pay his electric bill. He thought he was paying $278. Instead, the Rio Rancho resident accidentally entered one extra number. His typo had him paying $2,787 to PNM, an electric company that serves “more than 500,000 people” in the state of New Mexico, as it says on its website.

“And I didn’t notice that I had inadvertently hit a fourth digit, which makes the electric bill payment a lot higher,” Karmiol said of his mistake.

A few days after paying the bill, the Rio Rancho resident realized he made the typo and he contacted the electric company to see if they could fix it. What he thought could be an immediate fix on his bill turned out to be something that could take several weeks.

“Their policy of weeks and weeks seemed very strange to me,” he said.

Karmiol added that the electric company’s refund policy needs to be updated.

“Somebody has established the policy, and someone needs to change the policy. It’s not fair,” he said.

As Karmiol tries to get the typo on his electric bill corrected, he worries what could happen to other customers who are in his situation – especially those trying to pay off other bills.

“They could get hungry, and they also might have a mortgage payment to make,” he said. “And what happens if there’s a mortgage payment and you can’t do it? Or if there’s no groceries in the house and you can’t do it?”


A spokesperson for the electric company mentioned that this type of issue is usually fixed “as quickly as possible.” While the person didn’t specify any previous instances, he did note that Karmiol’s issue would be addressed within the company.

Karmiol is not the first person to make a costly typo on his bill. In a related report from The Inquisitr, a Phoenix, Arizona, woman made a typo that cost her more than $18,000 on her gas bill. Debra Tupper meant to just pay $18.69. But a typo had her paying $18,069.

“I don’t know who would use $18,000 in gas in a lifetime — it certainly wouldn’t be me,” Tupper said. “I live alone. I’m single.”

Do you think PNM should change its refund policy?

[Image via Clean Footprint]