03/27/2013 05:14 pm ET

Red Barn Café's Crazy Gas Bill For $59,257 Sends Owner Evelyn Penza Reeling

Ever been totally flabbergasted by a bill? We'll bet most of us have been there, but the recent experience of a New Jersey restaurant owner might take the cake.

Evelyn Penza, owner of the Red Barn Café in Hammonton, N.J., was shocked to receive a bill for $59,257.87 from South Jersey Gas. That's more than a slight uptick from what she'd anticipated -- a bill of less than $1,000.

“I said, 'this is crazy, let me get my glasses,'" Penza told local television station NBC10.

A representative from the gas company confirmed the charge to her, said Penza, and told her to begin payments.

South Jersey spokesperson Joanne Brigandi, however, told NBC10 the opposite. “At this point, we don’t really know what it is and we’re getting ready to do an investigation," Brigandi said, adding that Penza should not pay the bill until it was ascertained whether or not the bill was accurate.

The gas company later acknowledged a mistake calibrating the gas meter at the restaurant -- Penza may end up with a bill of close to $590 for two months.

We wonder how frequently people experience issues like this; if it happened to Penza, surely it could happen to others. A quick search revealed that plenty people on both sides of the Atlantic have received what they believe to be ludicrously high gas bills. It's unclear, though, if their gas meters had the same problem as Penza's, though they should get their meters checked.



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