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Empty coal cars as seen at the NVEnergy coal fired Reid Gardner Generating Station on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

The group backing the Energy Choice Initiative, a 2018 ballot question that would require Nevada to drop its current electric monopoly system, is going up with its first television ad of the 2018 campaign cycle.

Titled “It’s over,” the ad from a group called Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices features a breadth of people facing the camera and “breaking up” with incumbent utility NV Energy, citing issues with rate hikes and stating the utility “take us for granted,” and “we want to see other providers.”

“Competition means lower rates,” the ad states. “Break up with NV Energy’s monopoly by voting ‘yes’ on Question 3.”

A spokesman for the group said the initial first week of ad reservations will be $400,000, and earlier had reserved more than $10 million in ads between Labor Day and the general election. The group supporting the ballot question has been almost entirely funded by two companies, Las Vegas Sands and Switch, which have poured a combined $23.4 million into the ballot question since 2015.

The Energy Choice Initiative, which was passed by an overwhelming 72 to 28 percent in 2016, would require the state to set up a competitive retail electric market by 2023 — a task which some, including the state’s Public Utilities Commission, have said would cost tens of millions of dollars to implement.

The group opposing the ballot question, which has been entirely funded by NV Energy to the tune of $12.6 million, has already begun airing ads and has pledged to spend up to $30 million to defeat the measure, including $12 million in television ad reservations.

Disclosure: NV Energy and Switch have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.

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