Xcel Energy reported a solid second quarter Thursday with profits rising 15.5 percent as rate increases boosted the company's electricity business in Minnesota and other states.

Minneapolis-based Xcel posted second-quarter earnings of $227 million or 45 cents per share, up from $197 million or 39 cents per share a year ago.

The company handily beat Wall Street forecasts. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting per-share earnings of 42 cents and revenue of $2.6 billion. Xcel's actual revenue was $2.65 billion.

Xcel chalked up the strong quarter to higher electric and natural gas profit margins, lower operating and maintenance expenses and a lower tax rate.

"Second-quarter results were in line with our plan and positions us to deliver earnings within our guidance range," said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. "At the same time, we have accomplished key milestones in the regulatory arena that will bring tremendous value to our customers and shareholders over the longer term."

Higher electricity margins were driven by rate increases that have gone into effect in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and New Mexico. The company also serves Colorado, the Dakotas and part of Michigan.

Xcel also reaffirmed its profit guidance for the year of $2.25 to $2.35 per share.

Xcel's stock closed at $47.66 Thursday, up 39 cents.