South Korea's state power firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) on Friday reported a record-high operating loss in the first quarter of this year due to high global energy costs and the freeze in electricity rates.
Operating loss for the January-March period hit an all-time quarterly high of 7.78 trillion won ($6.06 billion), compared with the operating profit of 565.6 billion won from a year earlier, the state-run firm said in its regulatory filing.
The figure is even larger than the company's operating loss of 5.86 trillion won logged for the whole of 2021 and was 5.4 percent higher than the average estimate by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency.
The first-quarter net loss came to 5.93 trillion won, turning from a profit of 118.4 billion won a year earlier.
The poor performance was attributable to high global energy prices, while electricity rates were frozen in the first quarter, as the government sought to reduce financial burdens on consumers struggling with inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The per-ton price of liquefied natural gas in the first quarter surged 142 percent on-year, and that of soft coal spiked 191 percent on-year.
But its profit from electricity sales grew a mere 7.6 percent to 15.38 trillion won in the first quarter, and revenue rose 9.1 percent to 16.46 trillion won, according to the company.
Facing record losses, KEPCO vowed to set up an emergency response commission with its affiliates and devise measures to improve its financial status.
Options include the selling of investment shares and properties, and the restructuring of its overseas businesses.
It also vowed to push for ways to reduce the cost of power production and to boost cooperation with private entities to innovate overall management. (Yonhap)