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This paper proposes an improved approach based on conventional particle swarm optimization (PSO) for solving an economic dispatch(ED) problem with considering the generator constraints. The mutation operators of the differential evolution (DE) are used for improving diversity exploration of PSO, which called hybrid particle swarm optimization - differential evolution (PSO-DE). The mutation operators are activated if velocity values of PSO nearly to zero or violated from the boundaries. Four scenarios of mutation operators are implemented for PSO-DE. The simulation results of all scenarios of the PSO-DE outperform over the PSO and other existing approaches which appeared in literatures.