More than 1.6 million California telephone customers are being billed for $29.3 million worth of long-distance calls they made between Jan. 13 and March 14 but were never charged for because of a computer foul-up, Pacific Bell said Thursday.
But those customers are off the hook for another $22.2 million in calls made from Nov. 27 to Jan. 12 because it is company policy not to back-bill for more than 60 days, a spokesman said.
It was said to be the largest billing error in Pacific Bell's history.
Company spokesman Burt Barrett said the glitch affected the bills of 144,000 customers in the 213 code area, 160,000 in the 818 area, 37,000 in 805, 162,000 in 714 and 160,000 in 619.
In San Francisco, Pacific Bell spokesman Bob Brown said special arrangements would be made for any financially pressed customers unable to handle a large back-billing.
Included are long-distance calls made over Pacific Bell lines and interstate calls that Pacific Bell bills for American Telephone & Telegraph Co.