I don't believe your ferchickentah story, not a friggin' word... you have way too much time on your hands that you can lounge about dreaming up such fiction.
I used natural gas on Lung Guyland for 'bout 30 years, never went out not even once. however the electric, phone, and cable went out regularly, often for days at a time, especially the electric... transformers had meltdowns all the time, often on the grid hundreds of miles away. Over the years I had my gas meter replaced for the newer version at least a half dozen times... never took more than 15 minutes, and yes someone had to be home, but they only did the swap by a mutually agreeable appointment... and therein lies the reason why your story is a friggin' dirty lie... no gas company would ever perform a meter swap without first entering the premises to close the valve to each individual gas appliance.
I now have propane, for heating, cooking, and also connected to my outdoor grill (which is great because I don't ever need to refill those teensy bottles, and bulk propane is far less costly). Once each year a technician calls to make an appointment for checking the integrity of the system. They go throughout the entire house with an electronic gas sniffer checking every inch of pipe and all fittings, checking visually as well. They also check the system from outside with a meter that detects the slightest drop in pressure... for that they need to close the valve to each individual appliance. They are very accomodating with making appointments.
No natural gas company is going to swap a meter unless they can do the entire job during one visit, once they begin they are not going to leave the premises until the entire job is completed and fully tested. Swapping a meter for a routine upgrade is never an emergency, an appointment anytime that year is plenty good enough... usually you need to wait a bit longer for a Saturday appointment, but again, a routine swap is not an emergency.
Any gas company, natural gas or propane, will respond immediatly to a call 24-7 that you smell gas... they have to, it's Fedral Law. You could have easily reached a real person anytime by calling the emergency number, every gas company maintains a toll free emergency number, it's Federal Law.
Pay your utility bills on time and you won't hate the utility companys... because when they cut you off for non payment then you must accept the time they dictate for turn-on... actually they really would rather yoose PIA deadbeats would drop dead.
Folks don't realize it but deadbeats is the primary reason utility rates are so high.