A Calgary alderman says Enmax usurped an online survey she posted asking whether Calgarians were satisfied with the job being done by the company's board of directors.
Diane Colley-Urquhart said more than 60 per cent of the responses came from an Enmax-registered IP address, skewing the results.
Now the Ward-13 alderman — a frequent critic of Enmax in recent months — is again calling for the board of directors at the City of Calgary-owned utility company to be fired.
Board doing sufficient job — 82.6%
Board doing sufficient job — 39%
"Quite frankly I'm disappointed and I was shocked," she said.
Colley-Urquhart said she is stunned that Enmax seems to have asked its workers to respond to her survey, linking to it on the company's internal website.
The alderman said she discovered that almost 500 out the survey's 800 responses came from the Enmax IP address.
Colley-Urquhart said Enmax employees voted 82 per cent in favour of the utility's board while only 39 per cent of the non-company respondents were confident in the company's leadership.
Many of the responses from company insiders implied that the city should back off, and stay out of Enmax's business — essentially the opposite of what non-company respondents said, according to the alderman.
'The survey was actually hijacked by employees that were told to go do this survey.'—Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart
Colley-Urquhart said the incident reflects badly on the ethics of the people running Enmax.
"The survey was actually hijacked by employees that were told to go to this survey and respond," she said.
"And you can see, when you analyze the results, that they all responded pretty well around the same day, within the same 24-hour period, on company time."
The University of Calgary's business ethics chair said the results seem suspect.
"At the very least, if all that was done was directing employees to the survey, even if that's all that was said, it might have been done in a context that seems sort of coercive," David Dick said.
"Any time a boss says to an employee, 'Why don't you evaluate me,' it's unclear if you're going to get a really objective answer."
Dick said there are conditions under which such strong Enmax employee participation would be appropriate.
"Enmax employees are like any other private citizen, and are free to answer an online poll if they're directed to it," Dick said.
"If Enmax can demonstrate that they directed their employees to it in a non-coercive way, then that's only to the company's credit and it might reveal that Enmax employees are really happy with the way Enmax is going."
Enmax has so far declined to comment to CBC News about the matter.
Colley-Urquhart said she plans to post the full results on her website.
Enmax has been tangled in controversy several times since last year after details emerged about former CEO Gary Holden's salary, perks and company parties he hosted that featured big-name rock stars.
Holden resigned in January hours after CBC News revealed that he accepted a trip to Europe from another company two years ago. He left the company with a $4.6-million severance package.