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This paper proposes a wave filtering based electric load curve decomposition method for automatic generation control (AGC). A two-step scheme is used for the load curve decomposition to get three different components which are characterized by different frequencies. Butterworth low-pass filtering algorithm (BLFA) is used in both steps. In this filter algorithm, the framework of infinite impulse response (IIR) is used and the BLFA's four key parameters such as passband cut-off frequency, passband attenuation, stopband cut-off frequency and stopband attenuation are set according to the characteristics of the electric load. Logarithmic phase frequency response curve for BLFA is analyzed and a time delay compensating algorithm (TDCA) is developed in each step, too. The numerical tests on a provincial power grid prove that the proposed load curve decomposition method is practical.