This paper presents a new and efficient method for solving optimal power flow (OPF) problem in electric power systems. In the proposed approach, artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm is employed as the main optimizer for optimal adjustments of the power system control variables of the OPF problem. The control variables involve both continuous and discrete variables. Different objective functions such as convex and non-convex fuel costs, total active power loss, voltage profile improvement, voltage stability enhancement and total emission cost are chosen for this highly constrained nonlinear non-convex optimization problem. The validity and effectiveness of the proposed method is tested with the IEEE 9-bus system, IEEE 30-bus system and IEEE 57-bus system, and the test results are compared with the results found by other heuristic methods reported in the literature recently. The simulation results obtained show that the proposed ABC algorithm provides accurate solutions for any type of the objective functions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.