KEPCO’s operating loss narrows in 2023 on electricity rate hikes

The state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) said Friday its operating loss narrowed sharply in 2023 from the previous year's record level on the back of electricity rate hikes and restructuring efforts. Operating loss came to 4.57 trillion won last year (US$3.43 billion), compared with a record high yearly loss of 32.66 trillion won in 2022, the company said in a regulatory filing. Net loss came to 4.66 trillion won in 2023, compared with 24.43 trillion won a year earlier. Sales grew 23.8 percent on-year to 88.21 trillion won in 2023, and operating costs fell 10.72 percent on-year to 92.77 trillion won on cheaper fuel costs, according to the company. In the fourth quarter alone, the company reported operating profit of 1.88 trillion won and net profit came to 1.33 trillion won, the second quarterly gain. The utility firm logged a quarterly operating profit during the July-September period for the first time since the first quarter of 2021. In 2023, KEPCO raised the rates three times -- by 13.1 won per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the first quarter, 8 won in the second quarter and 10.6 won in the fourth quarter, which was confined to the commercial electricity use. The company had not been able to raise electricity bills enough to cover high fuel costs before amid the COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation. Facing snowballing losses, KEPCO has implemented a series of self-rescue measures, including the restructuring of overseas businesses, property sales and other cost-cutting moves worth a combined 14.3 trillion won over the next five years. KEPCO's shares jumped 2.17 percent Friday from the previous session on the Seoul bourse to close at 23,550 won.