Chinese phone bills from one company that can be charged in cash or via an online payment service have soared to a record $1 million, making them one of the most expensive in the country.
Entergy, the nation’s largest power utility, announced the charges Thursday as part of a massive investigation into a $10.8 billion cyber attack that was blamed on North Korea, and the company said it would pay $50,000 to every customer who took part in the investigation.
In addition, Entergy said it is offering $2,500 to every consumer who was impacted by the hack.
The company said the cyber attack was carried out by China-based cyber criminals, not North Korea.
The bill includes fees for services like phone service and online payments, as well as fees for the use of phones, tablets and computers.
Entergy and its partners paid the bill in cash, Entergys spokesman Joe Zalcman said in an email.
“The total cost of this bill is $1.2 million, or $1 per person per day,” Zalcy said.
The total amount of the bill is still not known, Zalcer said, adding that it is a matter of some debate as to how much of that total should be paid.
“I would say that it’s a fairly significant sum,” Zolcy said, noting that a small fraction of the total bill is due to taxes and fees.
Entergys, one of five power companies in the U.N.-backed “Cyber-Shield” system, said it has a network of more than 1.5 million customers in the United States and Canada, which is among the biggest consumer markets for the utility.
Entergas, a subsidiary of Chinese company China Telecom, also is under investigation by U.K. authorities.
It is also under scrutiny for paying customers for Internet access, and for a plan it said it implemented in 2014 to help people with medical conditions access health care.
In a statement, Entergs spokesperson Brian Graziano said the company has not been contacted by the U:S.
authorities and is cooperating with the investigation.
“The cost of the bills is very low and it is very clear that these companies were not hacked by the North Koreans, but rather by their own customers who were using the services to pay their bills,” Graziani said.
Enterger said it will not pay any more than what it owes, and that it has offered a $50 credit to customers who have been affected.
The U. S. Justice Department is also investigating Entergy over charges it charged to the credit card of a woman who was charged $2.5,000 for an online bill.