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Clean energy groups argue investment in infrastructure - not in renewables - is driving up household power bills.

The conservative think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), claims electricity prices in parts of Australia have increased at nearly four times the rate of inflation.

Examining data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, IPA researcher Julie Novak said prices were pushed up by renewable energy initiatives and that governments had not invested in electricity generation.

"In addition, energy companies are reluctant to make new capital investments because of uncertainty about carbon emission reduction schemes," she said.

But green group The Climate Institute claims bill rises are due mainly to investment of $42 billion in poles and wires over the next five years.

The Clean Energy Council, the peak body for clean energy and energy efficiency industries, backs that figure, and called the IPA's claims "absolutely ridiculous".

Policy director Russell Marsh said the investment was needed due to the growing population, rising energy use and more energy-intensive appliances like TVs and air conditioners.

Clean energy was a scapegoat, he said.

"It's the obvious thing for people to look at, they can see the solar panels and the wind turbines but they don't look at the poles and wires in the same way," Mr Marsh told AAP.



The council's modelling put the total cost of Australia's renewable energy target at less than $4 per household per year.

The IPA found prices in Sydney had jumped 61.3 per cent since 2005 while Melbourne had increased by 56.8 per cent.

Brisbane's prices had soared by 50.7 per cent, Canberra by 45.9 per cent and Darwin by 35.9 per cent.

Perth and Adelaide experienced the smallest hikes, at 35.8 per cent and 16 per cent respectively, according to the research published on Thursday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday chaired the first meeting of a new multi-party climate change committee, tasked with examining a carbon price.

There is a push for Ms Gillard to get behind renewable energy at her own home.

US President Barack Obama has agreed to put solar panels on the roof of the White House and President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is installing solar panels on the roof of his official residence.

It's part of a "global work party" organised by, expected to be the most widespread demonstration of practical action to tackle climate change.

The group has more than 127 events organised in Australia and has written to Ms Gillard to ask her to join them by going solar.

Australian Greens acting leader, Senator Christine Milne, said solar panels would be a great addition to Ms Gillard's new home.

"A solar array at The Lodge would send a powerful message that Australia is turning its face to the sun, to the future and to the prosperity that a renewable energy revolution and a safe climate promise," she said.