Competition among electricity suppliers has led companies to some surprising efforts to distinguish themselves, but Connecticut-based North American Power has seen an incredible response to its recent Mission to Millions program.

Electricity deregulation was designed in large part to rationalize the electricity market, but for consumers the ultimate goal was to lower electricity rates. As prices have dropped for many of the residents turning to alternate electricity providers, companies needed to distinguish themselves through some other means.

Many have chosen to pursue renewable electricity, giving residents green alternatives, but North American Power also took a different approach, offering customers the opportunity to direct the company's charitable spending. The Missions to Millions program offers customers the chance to choose charities they feel are important and have one dollar of every month's electricity bill donated to that cause.

"Social responsibility and philanthropic giving will always be at the core of our mission," says North American Power CEO,Kerry Breitbart. "But the fact that we're giving our customers the choice of where to give, and that they're acting on this choice in record numbers, means the world to our non-profit partners."

The charities range from providing clean water abroad to preserving green space at home and anywhere in between.

While $1 might not seem like much, NAPower notes that charitable giving has risen six-fold since the beginning of the program and should reach $1 million by 2013.