The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a plan by Minnesota Power that would lower this year's 5.8% rate increase to 4.1%.

The rate change is effective Friday, Duluth-based Minnesota Power said in a release Thursday.

“This decision enables us to provide some much-needed relief to our customers during these difficult times as we continue to focus on delivering the safe and reliable energy so important to our communities, homes, hospitals and businesses,” Bethany Owen, president and CEO, of Allete, Minnesota Power's parent company, said in the release.

The PUC is expected to consider in June whether or not to refund the $12 million difference to customers.

Minnesota Power has proposed it will not seek another rate increase until at least March 1, 2021.

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The Duluth-based energy company last year sought to increase residential rates by 15% and business rates by 10%. In December, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved a temporary 5.8% increase across all customers that went in effect Jan. 1 as it weighed the company's full rate increase amount.

This story originally listed an incorrect detail on refunds to customers. It was updated at 7:38 a.m. May 1. The $12 million in refunds have not been approved yet and will be considered by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June. The News Tribune regrets the error.