I've heard some nonsense in my time but this is really of the biscuit taking variety. Reported by the Beeb yesterday a council in Wales is switching off street lights. It's for the environment don't you know. Seriously. Just as an aside are the savings of 250K from the council budget.
Street lighting along with sewage, the police, fresh drinking water and the town crier (an early version of a mobile RSS feed, ask your granny) was one of the most basic services that local city authorities undertook to provide in the pre-Victorian era. Even the bloody Romans provided street lighting.