DULUTH — Minnesota Power Wednesday proposed a reduced interim rate increase to its residential customers, following last week's filing with state regulators.

On Nov. 1, the Duluth-based utility proposed to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) an electricity rate increase of 17.58%, or $108 million. The company requested an interim rate increase of 14.2% for all customers, which would take effect in January and would remain until the PUC, which must approve any increase, makes a decision.

The new proposed interim increase is 7.1%. The average residential customers would in January see a monthly increase of $5.89.

It doesn't change the overall rate request, said spokeswoman Amy Rutledge, which will undergo a lengthy review.

The new proposal, formulated by Minnesota Power, Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota and Energy CENTS Coalition, recognizes "that the pandemic has impacted many families in this area," she said.

Under the overall request, the utility's typical residential customers would see an increase of about $15 a month, and small business customers an increase of $55 a month.

Minnesota Power told the PUC in a letter that a rate increase that reflects its current revenue and costs was crucial in supporting a "financially healthy utility."

Jana Hollingsworth • 218-508-2450