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Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are increasingly being used in households and commercial buildings because of the desire to reduce electricity usage. CFLs are nonlinear, which raises concerns over the widespread use of CFLs due to possible adverse effects on harmonic voltage levels in the distribution system. Laboratory tests were performed on more than 23 brands of CFLs sold in New Zealand, in order to understand their electrical performance. A PSCAD/EMTDC model of a simple CFL ballast circuit is shown to match actual CFL current waveforms and is used to assess the interactions between multiple CFLs connected to an electrical network. This work shows the error of using fixed harmonic current injection to model CFLs in a distribution system. Finally the concept of CFL tensor analysis with phase dependency is introduced.