I’m sorry you’ve found it misleading. We’ve had similar feedback from another member recently, so we’re currently making changes to the way our quote process is worded to make that clearer. I’ve split my answer below into a few sections because it was getting pretty long.
Energy cost (your quote) is different to your monthly payment amounts
The root of this comes down to the difference between the cost of your energy and your monthly payments. These are slightly different figures. Your quote is the cost of the energy we expect you to use over the course of the year. Your payments are the amount we move from your bank account into your Bulb account each month. To keep things simpler for the member we keep this at the same amount each month, with the exception of members' first winter. Because everyone uses more energy during winter, during their first winter we increase payments by 20% to help members avoid going into debt in their Bulb accounts. In following winters, members build up a buffer in their account during summer, so we don't have these higher payments again. So, while your payments are higher, over the course of the year, your actual energy cost will be in line with your quote.
You control your payment amounts
The amount that you pay each month is actually under your control. The payment amounts we set are just recommendations. In your MyBulb account, there is an option on the Payment Details page where you can set it to whatever you like. We keep an eye on your Bulb balance to make sure you're not in too much credit or debit, but otherwise, we're happy if you're happy. You can change it in MyBulb if your pay by debit card (i.e. you joined us through our site), otherwise if you pay by direct debit (i.e. you joined us through a comparison site) you'll have to get in touch with us to change your payment amount for you.
This is explained on quote page of join site
After getting your quote there is some more info about how we take payments that pops up before you can proceed with the switch. It sounds like this wasn't clear enough for you though. We're just updating the wording of this page to make it even clearer. Is there anything else we could do to make this clearer?
Also, between October and March, when higher winter payments are active, we include a paragraph at the top of the welcome email explaining it again. We don’t currently have this paragraph in the welcome email as we will do a dedicated email to affected members in late August so that they have plenty of time to be reminded of it. Do you think that we should include the winter payments explanation in the welcome email before October, even if the members won’t be affected for a few months?
The 2-month deposit
We have the 2-month deposit in our terms so that we have it available if we need it. In order to keep prices low for all our members, we need to make sure we can handle the very rare member who goes into significant debt. I don't believe we've ever used it, and we don't want to use it, but it's there in case.
We want to make the switch process as transparent and painless as possible, so we’ll do anything we can do to make this clearer. So any ideas you have are very welcome.
Is there anything you’d like me to clarify? Anything I’ve missed?
All the best,