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This letter proposes an analytic framework for achieving an optimal solution for phasor measurement unit (PMU) placement problem. The proposed technique is on the basis of the cost/benefit analysis while long-term economic aspects and existing technical issues are simultaneously accounted for. More deployment of PMU devices would result in more reliable and secure electricity services. The reduction of system risk cost is hence recognized as the benefit associated with the development of wide-area measurement system (WAMS). The optimal number and location of PMUs are determined such that adding more PMUs is no longer beneficial. Two systems are examined to demonstrate the performance of the proposed method.