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In this paper, the optimal active power dispatch is formulated as a network flow optimization model and solved by interior point methods. The primal-dual and predictor-corrector versions of such interior point methods are developed and the resulting matrix structure is explored. This structure leads to very fast iterations since it is possible to reduce the linear system either to the number of buses or to the number of independent loops. Either matrix is invariant and can be factored offline. As a consequence of such matrix manipulations, a linear system which changes at each iteration has to be solved; its size, however, reduces to the number of generating units. These methods were applied to IEEE and Brazilian power systems and the numerical results were obtained using a C implementation. Both interior point methods proved to be robust and achieved fast convergence in all instances tested.