US electric and natural gas company Xcel Energy said its fourth-quarter profit rose by nearly 3% as higher electricity rates in several states where it operates helped offset lower sales caused by the economy.

Xcel said it made $167.8m, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ending 31 December compared with $163m, or 36 cents per share, in the same quarter a year before.

Revenue fell to $2.62bn in the quarter from $2.71bn in the previous year’s fourth quarter.

Xcel reported weaker demand for electricity during the quarter and for all of 2009 as commercial and industrial customers scaled back operations due to the recession.