(1) Are your cats spayed and neutered? A strange cat may have "marked" the area with his or her scent and your cats are trying to place their odor there to mark it as theirs. They'll do this even if they are fixed, but are more likely to if not.
(2) There could be some wild catnip growing around the meter.
(3) Cats are attracted to certain odors, often those composed of petrochemicals. It's not unusual for there to be a slight gas leak around a meter. Call the gas company ASAP and have them check the area.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you're a mile away and you have his shoes.