Feb 15 (Reuters) - Electric and gas utility Consolidated Edison beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, helped by lower operating expenses.

The New York-based firm's quarterly operating expenses fell more than 14% to $2.99 billion from $3.48 billion in the previous year. Costs for fuel fell to $41 million from $101 million a year ago.

The company forecast adjusted earnings in the range of $5.20 to $5.40 per share for 2024, compared to analysts' average estimates of $5.29 per share, according to LSEG data.

Utility firms have been cutting costs to counter inflation and rising interest rates. Peers Southern Co and WEC Energy have also benefited from lower operating expenses in this quarter, beating profit estimates.

Con Edison provides electric and gas services to about 5.1 million customers through its subsidiaries, mainly in some boroughs of New York City - Manhattan, the Bronx, parts of Queens - and parts of adjoining Westchester County.

On an adjusted basis, the company, which was founded in 1823, reported earnings per share of $1.00 in the fourth quarter, beating LSEG analysts' estimates of 96 cents. (Reporting by Vallari Srivastava in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)