Static economic dispatch is a real-time problem in power system network. Here, the real power output of each generating unit is calculated with respect to forecasted load demand over a time horizon while satisfying the system constraints. This paper explains the impact of unified power flow controller (UPFC) in static economic dispatch (SED) using artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm. UPFC is a converter (shunt and series)-based FACTS device, which can control all the parameters in a transmission line individually or simultaneously. ABC algorithm that imitates the foraging behavior of honey bees is used as an optimization tool. The impact of UPFC in reducing the generation cost, loss, and improving voltage profile, power flow are demonstrated. The studies are carried out in an IEEE 118 bus test system and a practical South Indian 86 bus utility. © Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016.