Utility regulators Thursday approved a Minnesota Power proposal to cut rates by 5 percent for its struggling large customers — particularly taconite mines. But regulators essentially put off a decision on a plan that would fund the industrial rate cut with a 10 percent rate increase for residential customers.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted 3-2 in favor of the industrial rate cut, after shooting down a similar proposal in February that would have raised residential rates by up to 14.5 percent. The commission concluded then that the company didn’t present enough evidence of the rate cut’s benefits.

Some commissioners, including those who voted for Duluth-based Minnesota Power’s plan, said Thursday the power company and the mining industry still fell short of adequately laying out the benefits.

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