I think you have it down pat, town trying to save money, buying cheap stuff which did not last.
I cant see the bulbs, but I guess I could try to find out who made them.
And also they do have the light sensor, they come on at dusk and shut off at daybreak. (One of those sensors fell out of a light and our dog picked it up and carried it home, its in our cellar somewhere.)
But isnt that really old technology? It sure used to work just fine with the old lights many years ago. They always came on at dusk and shut off in the morning without fail.
Once these new ones start to fail, they go on and off constantly, with the offending buzzing noise.
The newspaper stuff is so old that its impossible for me to find the letters or articles.
But I will be getting the pole numbers and looking for that phone number, and then perhaps I can get the info. As now I am also curious, up until now, I just thought is was a total money saving nuisance.
Anything our little town does to save money sadly seems to backfire.
The utility company denies anything to do with these, and they will transfer anybody who calls in, to that phone #.
From what I see thru my binocs, those sensors point downward, and when the bulbs are functioning, they work fine.