Ubuntu – How to monitor power consumption


The powertop program shows the power usage, but only after about five minutes. Before that, it shows:

no ACPI power usage estimate available

That's one of the limitations of the powertop program. What program is recommended for reliably monitoring the power usage? Is it possible to get a power usage history similar to the memory usage history in the System Monitor as well?

Best Answer

As you surmised in your comment the limitation is not with the software but with your battery not reporting correctly.

To clarify these software tools below will only measure power consumption on laptops when running on battery. For desktop or server machines the only current solution is an electronic watt-meter that plugs into the mains socket.

Power Statistics

In Ubuntu Precise 12.04 there is a new power statistics history window. This can be accessed by clicking the battery item in the application indicator menu then selecting Latop Battery tab.


As mentioned by the OP this program provides information on per process/device power usage.


Another alternative that measures process/device power usage is powerstat that was written for Ubuntu by Colin King. There is a detailed review of its features on hecticgeek.com.

It can be installed from the PPA: ppa:colin-king/powermanagement

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