The Case of the Ghostly Governor

How a Governor who left office in 2016 authorized USPS rates for 2018…

Note: the Billbray letter was pointed out to us by a former postal official, and was first reported on by postalmag.com. Some reports have referred to the Billbray letter as “postdated”, which is not accurate, since the letter is dated November 14, 2016, presumably the actual date it was signed- even though it was not filed with the PRC until almost a year later. Continue reading

USPS seeks an end to postage price cap

From USPS News Link:

USPS is offering comments on the 10-year pricing system review being conducted by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).

Under a 2006 postal law, the PRC must review the system used for regulating rates and classes for market-dominant products, including First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail and other mail categories. Continue reading

PRC Commences First Broad Review of Postal Ratemaking System

Washington, DC – Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) begins its review of the system for regulating rates and classes for Market Dominant products that was first established in 2006. The law requires that the Commission begin its review of the current rate system ten years after the date of enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, to determine whether it’s achieving the objectives established by Congress. If the Commission finds that the objectives, taking into account the factors, are not being met, it has the authority to either propose rules that modify the system or adopt an alternative system to achieve the objectives. Order No. 3673 outlines the parameters and timing by which the Commission will complete its review. Continue reading

USPS to hike shipping services rates 3.9% after the holidays

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes for Shipping Services products to take effect next year, following the end of the holiday mailing season. The filing does not include any price increase for First-Class Package International Service, Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International.

pr16_081The Postal Service continues to provide excellent value and reliability for the shipping industry, along with convenient choices for consumers. The average Shipping Services price change is 3.9 percent, which results in an average shipping price of less than $5 per shipment across all shipping products.

The new prices, if approved, represent a modest price increase in Priority Mail by 3.9 percent and an average of 3.3 percent in Priority Mail Retail prices.

The Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope prices for these products are:

Current New
Small flat-rate box $6.80 $7.15
Medium flat-rate box 13.45 13.60
Large flat-rate box 18.75 18.85
Large APO/FPO flat-rate box 16.75 17.35
Regular flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.65
Legal flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.95
Padded flat-rate envelope 6.80 7.20

The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to take effect Jan. 22, 2017. The complete Postal Service price filing with the new prices for all Shipping Services products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section:http://www.prc.gov/dockets/daily

USPS to raise stamp price by two cents in January

13680288_10154418525364810_946729267143759170_oWASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes for Mailing Services products to take effect next year, following the end of the holiday mailing season. The new prices, if approved, include a two cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, returning the price to 49 cents, the price of a Forever stamp before the Postal Service was forced to reduce prices by the PRC as part of the exigent surcharge removal.

The last time stamp prices increased was in January 2014. Today’s price change filing does not include any price change for Postcards, for letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The First-Class Mail prices for these products are:

Current New
Letters (1 oz.) 47 cents 49 cents
Letters additional ounces  21 cents 21 cents
Letters to all international destinations $1.15  $1.15
Postcards 34 cents 34 cents

 

Stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation since the Postal Service was formed in 1971.

Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services will also be adjusted next year and can be found at www.prc.gov. The PRC will review the prices before they are scheduled to become effective on Jan. 22, 2017. Today’s filing does not affect Postal Service Shipping products and services.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Neopost offers free rate change webinar tomorrow

Neopost is offering a free one hour webinar tomorrow, Thursday May 28, covering the upcoming USPS rate changes:

Date: May 28, 2015
Time: 1:00 ET / 12:00 CT / 11:00 MT / 10:00 PT
Duration: 1 Hour Duration Inlcuding Q&A
(COMPLIMENTARY)

Join our webinar on May 28th to get the latest pricing updates and what will change in your mailing and shipping processes.

There’s lots of good news with this Rate Change, here are a few the topics that will be reviewed:

  • Postage Meter discount continue for First-Class® Mail
  • Domestic Priority Mail® and Priority Mail® Express prices don’t increase
  • Commercial base pricing stays the same

A Neopost USA rate change expert will provide all the details plus best practices tips to help you continue to save on both mailing and shipping after the new rates go into effect. Neopost customers will also get final details on how to be sure their machines will be ready.

Click here to register.

Appeals Court reaches mixed decision on USPS/PRC IMb dispute

The Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit today handed down its decision in the lawsuit brought by the US Postal Service against the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) over the PRC’s attempt to regulate new Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) rules. Mailers had claimed that the regulations increased their costs, and therefore were price increases that needed to be counted against the postal service’s rate cap for “Market Dominant” services. The PRC sided with the mailers, so the USPS appealed to the Court, claiming that the law clearly prohibited the PRC from “characterizing mail preparation requirements as changes in rates.”

Today’s decision rejects the postal service’s claim, finding the law “ambiguous” on that point. But while the Court found that the PRC could determine that a change in the rules amounted to a rate hike, “The standard enunciated by the Commission to determine when requirements changes are ‘changes’ in rates” seems boundless and, thus, unreasonable; and the Commission’s inconsistent application of the standard in this case proves the point.” The Court went so far as to find that “The Commission’s judgment in this case ‘lacks any coherence. We therefore owe no deference to [the Commission’s] purported expertise because we cannot discern it. We therefore remand the case to the Commission to enunciate an intelligible standard and then reconsider its decision in light of that standard.”

The entire decision is available here (.pdf file).

PRC Approves USPS Price Adjustments for Certain Market Dominant Products

prcWashington, DC – Today the Postal Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 2472 approving the Postal Service’s price adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services. The prices are scheduled to take effect May 31, 2015. In Order Nos. 2378 and 2398, the Commission remanded the price adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services to the Postal Service for non-compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

In today’s order, the Commission approves the Postal Service’s revised price adjustments and classification changes, which now comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In addition, the Commission directs the Postal Service to propose several methodologies relating to changes approved in Order No. 2472. The Commission approves several changes to workshare discounts and the Mail Classification Schedule in Order No. 2472, some of which necessitate the development of methodologies to be used in data reporting. The Commission directs the Postal Service to file the following within 90 days:

  • The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the costs avoided for the Presorted FSS workshare discounts.
  • The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the costs avoided for the 5-digit pallet presort Standard Mail Carrier Route flats workshare discount.
  • The Postal Service is directed to file a proposed methodology for determining the bottom-up costs for the new Periodicals Mail Carrier Route bundle and container entry options.

The Commission’s regulations require that the Postal Service use accepted analytical principles in its data reporting to the Commission. 39 C.F.R. part 3050.

The Commission’s complete analyses of the Postal Service’s Market Dominant price adjustments for fiscal year 2015 are located at www.prc.gov in Docket No. R2015-4.

USPS to delay April 26 rate adjustments

The US Postal Service announced today that it will hold off on rate adjustments scheduled to take effect on April 26. The adjustments, which involve First Class Mail, Special Services and Competitive Products, have already been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. Rates affecting Standard Mail, Periodicals and Package Services, however, have not been approved, after the PRC twice rejected USPS rate requests for those classes of mail, saying they were “riddled with errors”, and failed to comply with the law.

The USPS says it doesn’t want to burden customers with multiple implementation dates for different classes, and will set a new date for implementation once it manages to sort out the faulty submissions. It did not offer an estimate of how long that might take.

PRC Again Remands Price Adjustments Back To USPS: Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services Products Affected

prcWashington, DC – For the second time in this case, the Postal Regulatory Commission returned a Postal Service proposal to adjust rates for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services.

In Order No. 2378 issued on March 6, 2015, the Commission remanded the rates for these classes of mail so that the Postal Service could provide additional information and justifications, correct errors, and fulfill applicable legal requirements. The Commission held that the Postal Service needed to address several deficiencies, including unequal Standard Mail nonprofit and commercial discounts, improperly justified Standard Mail worksharing discounts with passthroughs above 100 percent, and improperly calculated billing determinant adjustments for all three classes.

In the order issued today, the Commission finds that the Postal Service has not adequately addressed the concerns described in Order No. 2378 and has failed to demonstrate that the proposed rates comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. As a result, the Commission again returns the proposed rates and directs the Postal Service to provide information demonstrating that they conform to the law.

Once the Postal Service files a response to the Commission’s order, the public will have 7 days from the date of that filing to comment on the revised proposal.

The Commission’s complete analysis of the Postal Service’s revised price adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services can be found in Order No. 2398, under Docket No. R2015-4.