Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco)
Korea Electric Power Corp. hemorrhaged a record operating loss of 5.8 trillion won ($4.8 billion) last year, going back into the red after an operating profit of 4 trillion won the year before.
Kepco suffered an unprecedented deficit as the public company couldn’t raise electricity prices in line with rising global fuel prices, due to the government’s inflation concerns.
The figure is almost double from when Kepco witnessed an operating loss of 2.7 trillion won in 2008 when oil prices skyrocketed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Revenue increased 3.4 percent to 60.5 trillion won. Despite the increased revenue, the huge operating loss was inevitable, as it spent 11.9 trillion won more this year for purchasing fuels and electricity.
Also, the government regulation to curb coal forced Kepco to generate electricity more with natural gas, the price of which has gone up significantly recently. Also, the government policy to generate electricity more with renewables affected Kepco’s financial deterioration.
“Fuel costs are expected to further rise and pose greater financial risks. Kepco will set up an emergency committee to respond and seek all-out measures for a self-recovery, including selling nonessential assets,” a Kepco official said.
The ongoing Ukraine crisis is projected to further aggravate Kepco’s financial status as global oil prices have this month soared to their highest in more than seven years due to uncertainties.
By Kim Byung-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org