A Winter Fuels Outlook released last week by the Department of Energy suggests heating fuel costs may rise slightly this winter.

But Bruce McDowell, director of policy analysis with the American Gas Association says the predicted 2 to 5 percent increase doesn't likely apply to natural gas.

"In their report they show that current prices are below last year's levels, storage is at almost a record high and supply is more than adequate to meet demand. So we feel there's going to be stability and reliability in the market place. If I were to bet on anything I would bet on the downward trend."

The American Gas Association represents distribution companies that deliver gas to the commercial and residential customer. McDowell says they've been telling customers to expect lower prices.

McDowell adds, of course, that weather is the wild card. "We look at private forecasts and we look at government forecasts as well. And while the private forecast is saying there's going to be a brutal winter coming up, the snowfall rates and the temperatures are actually less than they were last year, because last year was a significantly cold winter."

A recent study shows over 100 years of domestic natural gas supply and the country continues to produce more than expected thanks, in part, to new technologies that unlock newly discovered supplies from shale.