PRC Approves Rate Changes for Market Dominant and Competitive Products

Washington, DC – Today the Postal Regulatory Commission issued Orders 4875 and 4876 approving the Postal Service’s planned rate adjustments for both Market Dominant products and Competitive products respectively.

Rate increases for Market Dominant products must meet certain statutory and regulatory requirements, the most prominent of which is that such increases be no greater than the rate of inflation, as determined by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Conversely, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires, among other things, that rates for Competitive products must produce sufficient revenues to ensure they are not subsidized by Market Dominant products.

The Commission found that the rates for both classes of mail meet all statutory requirements and may take effect, January 27, 2019, as planned. The Commission also found that the planned classification changes, with the revisions set forth in Orders 4875 and 4876, are consistent with applicable law.

 

Select Market Dominant First-Class Mail rates will change as follows:

                                                                                               

Product

Old Rate

New Rate

Forever Stamp

50 cents

55 cents

Metered Letter

47 cents

50 cents

Additional Ounce

21 cents

15 cents

 

Select Competitive Product rates affected by the rate adjustment include:

 

Product: Priority Mail

Old Rate

New Rate

Retail Small Flat Rate Box

$7.20

$7.90

Retail Medium Retail Flat Rate Box

$13.65

$14.35

Retail Large Flat Rate Box

$18.90

$19.95

Retail Large Flat Rate Box APO/FPO/DPO

$17.40

$18.45

Retail Regular Flat Rate Envelope

$6.70

$7.35

Retail Legal Size Flat Rate Envelopes

$7.00

$7.65

Retail Padded Flat Rate Envelopes

$7.25

$8.00

 

The Commission’s complete analyses of the Postal Service’s Market Dominant and Competitive rate adjustments for calendar year 2019 are located at www.prc.gov in Docket Nos. R2019-1 and CP2019-3, respectively.

PRC to release results of postal rate-setting review

BACKGROUND: The Postal Regulatory Commission was required to initiate a review of the system for regulating rates and classes for Market Dominant products to determine if the ratemaking system has achieved the objectives of 39 U.S.C. 3622(b), taking into account the factors enumerated in 39 U.S.C. 3622(c). On December 20, 2016, the Commission began its review. Chairman Robert Taub will host a media conference to discuss the Commission’s findings. Continue reading

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).