Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE (NYSE:ALE), today filed a rate review request with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) asking for a rate increase of $55 million to support infrastructure investments, efficiency upgrades and business expenses as the company continues to transform how power is produced and delivered to customers. "Since 2011, Minnesota Power has invested extensively in our ambitious Energy Forward plan, changing how we provide safe and reliable energy to our customers in ways that include producing cleaner power, strengthening the electric grid that delivers energy, and adding technology that will help improve customer control over energy use," said David McMillan, executive vice president Minnesota Power. "The rate review process will evaluate recent investments we have made on our system that enable us to continue transforming energy supply and delivery to benefit customers." The majority of the rate request ($37 million) is related to additional Energy Forward capital investments which include upgrades to transmission and distribution infrastructure, measures to protect against extreme weather events and enable the safe integration of renewable resources, and the continuation of efficiency and environmental improvements at the company's existing power plants. Other components of the rate request address lower sales revenue and pension investment costs. MP also is proposing to provide annual savings to customers by extending to 2050 the capital cost recovery on the Boswell Energy Center. Minnesota Power's last general rate review was seven years ago. The MPUC will make two separate decisions in the rate review: setting interim rates that go into effect while the commission considers Minnesota Power's full request, and a final ruling on the amount of the full rate request. Minnesota Power is asking for an interim rate increase of 8 percent for all customers. If approved, a typical residential customer's monthly bill would increase by $6.00 when interim rates take effect Jan. 1, 2017. A small business customer's monthly bill would increase by $22.00.