Gov. Brown signed SB 350 (De León) into law, a bill that mandates that half of California’s electricity come from renewable sources in 15 years. This law will dramatically increase energy cost for Californians, who are already living with one of the highest electricity rates in the nation.

Currently, the average Californian residential electricity rate is 15.34 cents per kilowatt-hour, 29.12 percent greater than the national average. The average residents in Eastern San Diego County pay another 6.5 percent in electricity rate on top of it. Those living in areas with warmer temperatures will be hit especially hard by the electricity hikes this law causes.

A study by Energy and Environmental Economics Inc. estimated that the average retail electricity rates in California will likely increase 47 percent between 2012 and 2030 prior to this law’s passage, and will increase another 9 to 23 percent after.

Such dramatic rate hikes not only will raise prices and reduce spending power, but also increase the already burdensome costs of doing business in California, potentially pushing more businesses to leave the state and worsening the economy in California.

Californian businesses are already one of the most energy-efficient in the nation. Incentivized to maintain productivity and profitability, they consume 11.32 percent less electricity than the national average per month. Not to be outdone, Californian residents consume 36.54 percent less than the national average residential electricity consumption per month.

SB 350, however, imposes another 50 percent energy reduction on top of this progress without providing any detail as to how California will reach this goal, or accounting for the steps Californians have already taken.

The bill’s author, commenting on its passage, said: “We are doing away with the tired old stereotypes of environmentalism as a pastime of the wealthy and the elite. Soon, whether you live in Boyle Heights or Beverly Hills, Modesto or Marin, Sausalito or Santa Ana, Sacramento or Logan Heights, San Diego, you will have the same access to clean electricity and clean air.” Yet, unlike the “wealthy and the elite,” poorer residents will not be able to endure the skyrocketing utility costs.

It’s time for the legislature to work for the majority of all Californians, rather than the few, out of touch, misguided environmental special interests. California can be the golden state again if we are good stewards of our environment while promoting intelligent, science-based policies.

Assemblyman Brian Jones