The Korea Electric Power Corporation, or KEPCO, has shifted into the red in the first quarter, reporting an operating loss of seven-point-78 trillion won for the January-to-March period based on a tentative estimate.
According to a regulatory filing disclosed Friday, the firm had posted an operating profit of 565 billion won in the same quarter last year.
In the first three months, KEPCO reported revenue of 16-point-four trillion won, up nine-point-one percent on-year, but the company posted net loss of five-point-nine trillion won for the quarter.
The loss is attributed to runaway fuel costs in natural gas and coal, which jumped nearly 93 percent. Expenses on electricity purchases also soared by more than 111 percent.
The price of liquefied natural gas shot up to one-point-three million won per ton in the first quarter, a 142 percent increase over the same period last year. The price of bituminous coal, also known as soft coal, gained a whopping 191 percent.
Securities market experts forecast KEPCO will post an operating loss of over 17 trillion won for the whole year.
KEPCO has stressed the need to raise utility fees to realistic rates as its profit structure closely relates to global oil prices. As a large deficit is expected to continue this year, the company is trying to cut costs in other areas, including real estate sales and changes to investment projects.