The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided to delay the USPS’ plans to change the frequency of general mail delivery from six to five days, while continuing to provide retails, expedited, and package delivery services. The postal Board has directed postal management to re-evaluate several aspects of its operations, including its contracts and agreements with labor and its postal pricing plans.
Regarding the latter, the Board specifically has asked postal management to evaluate the possible need to call for and implement postal rate increases that exceed the inflation-based limits provided for in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Inflation-based limits to postal rate increases has been considered a key hallmark of PAEA, and has been credited for stimulating recent reductions in overall postal costs and enhancing postal operating and cost-efficiency.
The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) has called, on several occasions, for the Postal Service to share more explicitly its plan to address certain areas that have been the subject of some criticism, particularly the pricing of key elements of larger-than-letter size (flats) periodical and advertising mail. To date, the Postal Service has failed to provide it, Congress, or the Postal Regulatory Commission with any information that could cause one to believe that the Postal Service actually has some plan for improving the cost-efficiency of the preparation, entry, processing, or distribution of flat-size mail either by making changes to its plan processing capabilities or by directing greater cost-efficiencies by way of postal rate incentives to mailers that prepare and enter this mail.
“Before the Postal Service foes off willy-nilly in seeking inflation-cap busting postal rate increases on these mail products, it owes its customers and those who oversee and regulate the Postal Service with greater insight into alternative means for ensuring the mail service prices are sufficient to at least cover mail service costs,” said PostCom President Gene Del Polito. “The days in which the Postal Service could get away unharmed by ignoring customer requests and needs is long passed.”
“The Postal Service,” Del Polito said, “may still hold a monopoly of the carriage and delivery of this mail, but there is nothing in the law that requires businesses to continue using the mail.” “Without the business these customers provide,” he said, “the Postal Service and the nation will be even more hard-pressed to ensure the nation’s continuing postal needs will be satisfactorily addressed.”
“Businesses may find it cost-efficient to shift its computing to the cloud,” Del Polito points out, “but no business I know relishes planning and conducting its postal business in the fog.” “PAEA called for greater accountability from the Postal Service,” he said,” and not the cloaking of mail processing and pricing plans that can adversely affect the nation’s businesses.”