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Printing error inflates 13,000 bills

Jan. 13, 2010 at 2:02 PM

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority says about 13,000 customers received bills that were off by thousands of dollars due to erroneous decimals.

Melissa Rubin, a spokeswoman for the authority, said officials began receiving calls Tuesday morning about bills marked up thousands of dollars from previous months, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday.

Water & Sewer Authority Executive Director Michael Kenney said a technician with the California company that handles the billing, EA Consulting Inc., uploaded the bills to the mailer using a European protocol. Kenney said the European protocol caused commas to appear instead of decimal places and the receiving computer did not recognize the punctuation.

He said a bill for $45.00 would show up as $4,500.00 as a result of the error.

"The data is all good. It's really nothing more than a bad print file," Kenney said.

Officials said corrected bills were mailed out Wednesday and anyone who pays an inflated balance from an incorrect bill will be given a refund.

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