Xcel Energy's third-quarter earnings were down a tad, as higher costs offset gains from favorable weather conditions and sales growth.

Minneapolis-based Xcel on Thursday reported quarterly earnings of $491 million, or 96 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Zacks Research had forecast 98 cents a share. A year ago, Xcel earned $492 million, or 97 cents a share.

Revenue was $3.05 billion for the quarter, 1 percent lower than analysts' forecast but 1 percent higher than the same time last year.

"Third-quarter results were in line with our forecast, while our year-to-date results continue to be favorable," Xcel Chief Executive Ben Fowke said in a statement.

"We are on track to achieve our revised year-end earnings guidance, we are well positioned for the future and we are increasing our long-term [earnings] growth objective from 5 to 7 percent," he said.

On the plus side, Xcel had another quarter of favorable weather, which during the summer means hotter temperatures leading to more air-conditioning usage. Rate increases also boosted the company's earnings in Colorado and Wisconsin.

However, higher operating and maintenance expenses dented profits by 7 cents per share during the quarter, and higher depreciation and interest expenses hurt to a lesser extent.

The third quarter included a landmark for Xcel: Colorado regulators approved its Colorado Energy Plan. Xcel plans to add 1,100 megawatts of wind power and 700 megawatts of solar in the state, and roll out 275 megawatts of battery storage. It also plans to retire 660 megawatts of coal generation.

"I really think it is a model for how the clean energy transition can occur in the United States," Fowke told analysts in a conference call.

Xcel Thursday narrowed its full-year 2018 earnings guidance from $2.41 to $2.51 per share to $2.45 to $2.49 per share.

Xcel's stock closed Thursday at $49.43, down 1.7 percent.