Energy Action Scotland warned the
Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee
its projection for the number of households in Scotland in fuel poverty by the end of the year was 900,000 30 November 2011.
The Scottish government aims to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016.
A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income to adequately heat its home, and in extreme fuel poverty if it would have to spend more than 20%.
Norrie Kerr from Energy Action Scotland told the committee: "Energy Action Scotland's projections and indeed the cabinet secretary Mr Neil's own figures state that by the end of this year it is likely there will be 900,000 households in Scotland not 600,000.
"And the majority of that is caused by the fuel price increases that are biting in just now".
Mr Kerr also said the information for those in fuel poverty could be more "user friendly" and that "trusted intermediaries" like a home help or social worker could assist in getting the help where it was needed.
Mike Thornton from the Energy Saving Trust agreed and added "trusted intermediaries, they are the key to overcoming the psychological barriers that you do see with the scheme."
Yvonne MacDermid from Money Advice Scotland told the committee many people were "lacking motivation to take up these offers" of help and later warned that the forthcoming UK government's welfare reform would have a "catastrophic affect" on people already in debt and would lead "to an awful lot more people" being defined as fuel poor.
Last month Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil told MSPs the
Energy Assistance Package (EAP)
would be extended to up to 7,000 people on carers allowance.
The scheme helps people to install new boilers, heaters or have their home insulation improved at no cost to themselves, which should see their heating costs fall.
Callum Chomczuk from Age Scotland warned that Scottish government funding to tackle fuel poverty would increase to 2014-15 but even then would still be less than in 2010-11 and that "we were not seeing the funding we need to tackle" the issue.
Labour members of the committtee Anne McTaggart and Rhoda Grant and Green member Patrick Harvie did not attend the committee due to their support of the public sector pension strike.
The committee then took evidence from Eddie Boyd from Highland Council; Kevin Christie from Aberdeen City Council; Rupert Steele from Scottish Power, Lindsey Restrick with SSE and Richard Atkins from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which will be available to view below shortly :