George If it can be demonstrated that the gas service in a particular area is that unreliable it makes more than good sense not to count on it.
That is not the case in the area I work, gas service is very reliable.
I did not follow your statement about starting times, the natural gas sets we install fire in less than 3 seconds and if they have not started in 10 they are not going to.
Of course these units are generally inside a building and have block heaters that keep the water temp above 120 F all the time.
If the water temp falls we get a low temp alarm.
We also set them up to run once a week for 30 to 60 minutes.
One of the company's customers has over 340 of these natural gas units ranging in size from 30 to 100 KW. Right now we have been contracted to go to about 100 of them and connect them to a monitoring station for Gen. Run, Gen. Fail and Power fail.
This will, when done, verify the generator runs when the exercise cycle comes, if not a generator technician will be dispatched.
These are article 700 generators for a large retail chain in the North East.