Rows of battery racks at Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center in Salem, Ore.

Rows of battery racks at Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center in Salem, Ore.

Photo courtesy of Portland General Electric

Electricity in the Portland area will be a little cheaper next year.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission has set Portland General Electric’s rates for 2016.

Beginning January 1, typical residential customers will see their bills go down about $3 a month.

But Marc Hellman, a rates administrator at the PUC, says the decrease may be short-lived. “The big factor coming up is a new gas plant that’s scheduled to come on line the first half of 2016. And when that plant comes on line customers will see a modest increase,” he said.

PGE prices vary from year to year — with the PUC’s approval — based on wholesale energy prices, capital investments, maintenance, labor and other costs.