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During the last decade the performance of power quality monitoring equipment has increased, while prices of monitors have continuously decreased. Due this trend network operators have more and more intensified their power quality measurement activities. The number of measured parameters and sites is growing continuously. At the same time these new opportunities cause power quality data management and analysis to become an increasing complex challenge. These new challenges will be addressed by the CIGRE working group C4.112 “Guidelines for Power quality monitoring — measurement locations, processing and presentation of data”, which was established in January 2011. The main intention of its work is the development of a coherent set of guidelines for power quality monitoring in existing and future power networks. Based on a clear identification of different objectives all design aspects for an efficient and cost effective power quality monitoring will be covered by the working group in a holistic way. The paper presents first results of the working group and is especially focused on the cost/benefit aspects of the design process of power quality monitoring systems. After a brief introduction the paper gives an overview of the objectives for power quality monitoring and the different aspects that has to be considered while designing a power quality monitoring system. Next the design aspects of larger monitoring systems are discussed in more detail. Some practical recommendations as well as first ideas of new approaches for future monitoring systems are given.