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Minnesota Power rate cut approved for mines, paper mills

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Regulators have approved lower electrical rates for mines and paper mills in northern Minnesota.

But they've told Minnesota Power to do more work to justify its plan to recapture that lost revenue by raising rates for residential customers.

The Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved rate cuts of about 5 percent for mines and paper mills. 

But the PUC put off deciding whether to increase rates by 10 percent for residential customers and 1 to 2 percent for other businesses. The PUC said it needs more information to determine whether Minnesota Power's plan is reasonable.

The industrial rate cut won't take effect until the other rate changes are decided.

The taconite industry says it needs the rate cut to be competitive. Critics say the plan us unfair to ordinary consumers.