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A unified approach to load-flow, minimum-loss, and economic dispatching problems is presented. A load-flow solution is shown to coincide with the minimum of a function of the power system equations. An unconstrained minimization method, developed by Fletcher-Powell, is used to solve the load-flow problem. The method always finds a solution or indicates the nonexistence of a solution. Its performance is highly independent of the reference- slack bus position and requires no acceleration factors. Several constrained minimization techniques that solve the minimum-loss and economic dispatching problems are investigated. These include the Fiacco-McCormick, Lootsma, and Zangwill methods. The technique finally recommended is shown to be an extension of the method used to solve the load-flow problem. The approved IEEE test systems, and other systems whose response to conventional methods was known, have been solved.