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Economic dispatch is a classic power system problem. It is formulated with either a non-linear quadratic objective function only or by adding another sinusoidal term to the quadratic function in order to incorporate the valve-point effect. Both formulations are subjected to equality and non-equality constraints. In solving such optimization problem, deterministic and heuristic methods were utilized. Direct search-pattern search is a novel heuristic technique used in solving the economic dispatch problems in this paper. This derivative-free method shows optimistic results in dealing with simple and large power systems. The proposed approach has been been tested on three, six and twenty generation units to validate usage of this heuristic technique in the economic dispatch area. Results are compared with deterministic and other heuristic methods.