The Iowa Utilities Board this morning permitted a $135.6 million electric rate increase sought by  MidAmerican Energy Co., the first increase the company has seen in 16 years, The Gazette reported. The increase will be phased in increments of $45.2 million over the next three years. The board previously approved the first, temporary hike last year that increased residents' monthly bills about $2.73, a 3.6 percent increase. The board also approved several consumer protections into the settlement, including a $200 cap on annual increases for residential customers and $1,500 for non-residential customers. The settlement also requires MidAmerican Energy to not request another rate increase until January 2018.