With the end of load shedding in South Africa, the government is now more committed to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) Programme, says President Jacob Zuma.

Delivering his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of Parliament here Thursday night, the President said work was continuing to ensure energy security.

“The Government is committed to the overall Independent Power Producers Programme and we are expanding the programme to other sources of energy, including coal and gas, in addition to renewable energy,” he said.

The country’s National Development Plan (NDP) stresses the importance of a greater mix of energy sources and a greater diversity of independent power producers (IPPs) in South Africa’s energy mix and this has become a reality through the IPP Programme spearheaded by the Department of Energy.

President Zuma said national power utility Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy from IPPs in line with the procurement rounds.

Referring to the electrification of households across the country, President Zuma said nearly seven million households have been connected to the grid and now have access to electricity.

“The successful execution of the Eskom’s build and maintenance programmes helped ensure stability and an end to load-shedding. Work is continuing to ensure energy security. Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix, which also includes electricity generation from gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and coal,” he said.

At its Quarterly System Status media briefing last month, Eskom announced that that had been no load-shedding for 17 months ago, with the power system remaining stable. It said plant performance had also improved, while maintenance remained on track.