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    While utility companies always tended to operate in the background before electricity deregulation, many retail electricity providers make a point of taking part in the communities they serve.

    One unique example comes from Houston-based Spark Energy, which recently organized a the first Lemonade Day Chicago.

    The program started up earlier this month on Tuesday, April 10, and is scheduled to end on Sunday, May 6, and is intended to help teach children about the traditional American entrepreneurial spirit.

    The concept is familiar to retail electricity providers like Spark, which carved out a place for itself within a fiercely competitive electricity market in Texas.

    The program will bring children from throughout Chicagoland and teach them the basics of starting a business. They will learn how to run their own lemonade stand and all the ways these lessons can be applied to everyday life, or the business world beyond just lemonade.

    Lemonade Day started in Spark's backyard five years ago in Houston, but has launched programs in 31 cities across the country and even into Canada since then. More than 120,000 children took part in the event last year.