What's Wrong with This Picture?

Redditor uncle_stink shows us a water bill he received this summer. What in the world could have caused him to run up a $47,542 bill? He was accused of installing a water park in his backyard, but that's not it. There has to be an error here. Can you figure out what it is?

First, notice the dates. He was billed from July to April, which made the number of days negative. We don't think there is any time travel involved here, so either there was a typo or else someone entered the data in the wrong field. The machinery saw the dates were reversed and therefore reversed the meter readings. This didn't help, as now the present reading is less than the previous reading. When that happens, the system assumes that the meter rolled over, so a million units were automatically added.

It doesn't help that the right side of the bill should be read from the top down chronologically, while the left side should be read up chronologically. This is counterintuitive. The dates and the meter numbers as they were read on those dates should be lined up on a well-designed bill.

Let's hope that the bean counters at the water department can see that it's an error. In so many of these cases, they first offer to help set up a payment plan for you.


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Even with that it's a 50/50 chance they'll get their water shut off "by mistake" while fighting this clearly botched bill.
Utility companies can have legendary billing bureaucracy and lack of communication between departments.
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Someone transposed dates and readings. The computer was programed to subtract dates, but consider negative readings to be roll-overs.
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