Alan Hodnik’s Duluth-based utility has wielded remarkable economic development power in northeastern Minnesota. It covers a 26,000-square-mile service area, which includes the Iron Range and North Shore. It supplies power to iron-mining facilities and paper plants. In the past year, it has sought to help these large, struggling businesses by offering lower rates—which would mean increasing residential charges. Home customers are naturally opposed, and the state’s Public Utilities Commission has resisted some of the efforts. Minnesota Power is still pushing for the rate changes, which could have a significant impact on the iron industry’s economic viability.