Corpus Christi resident Robert Sanchez found out his energy provider was doing more than providing him with power after opening his last bill. The utility company, CPL Retail Energy, also decided to pick up a year’s worth of Sanchez' mortgage payments, up to $40,000 in total. At a time when foreclosures grip the housing market, some tend to forget the utility providers. After all, if foreclosed homes sit vacant with no one living in them, lamps stay dark, ceiling fans quit spinning and faucets dry up. Fewer owners means lower wattage, spawning creative promotions by utility companies like CPL. The energy provider entered all residential customers who signed up with the energy provider as of March 31, 2009 into a drawing for the complimentary mortgage payments. Secondary prizes included a month’s worth of groceries for 35 winners and a summer’s worth of free electricity to 50 customers. Adding to the giving spirit, CPL teams traveled to towns in South Texas to perform random acts of kindness like purchasing gas, coffee, and event tickets for customers. They even dropped them wallets filled with movie tickets, gift cards or $100 checks. While the promotions are meant to draw new customers into the arms of CPL, Sanchez is, in fact, a lifelong customer. Now, that isn't likely to change. "I would have never believed I would win something like this, especially from my energy provider," said Sanchez. Write to Jon Prior.