The paper proposes a multi-objective biogeography based optimization (MO-BBO) algorithm to design optimal placement of phasor measurement units (PMU) which makes the power system network completely observable. The simultaneous optimization of the two conflicting objectives such as minimization of the number of PMUs and maximization of measurement redundancy are performed. The Pareto optimal solution is obtained using the non-dominated sorting and crowding distance. The compromised solution is chosen using a fuzzy based mechanism from the Pareto optimal solution. Simulation results are compared with Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm-II (NSGA-II) and Non-dominated Sorting Differential Evolution (NSDE). Developed PMU placement method is illustrated using IEEE standard systems to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.