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PRC Evaluates USPS Performance: 18 Discount Rates Miss the Mark

prcWashington, DCToday the Postal Regulatory Commission issued its 2013 Annual Compliance Determination (ACD) report, an assessment of the U.S. Postal Service’s rates and service in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013.  This year’s ACD is based on information the Postal Service is required to provide to the Commission and comments from the public.

The Commission notes that the Postal Service has made improvements in the areas of customized service agreements and increased cost coverage and contribution from competitive products.  Also, the volume of mail being measured for service performance has increased, and customer access and satisfaction have improved over the previous fiscal year.  The Commission also found that customers were generally satisfied with their overall experience when visiting post offices, but were less satisfied with the resolution of complaints.  Overall, the majority of the products were found to be in compliance.

However, the Commission has identified several compliance issues the Postal Service must address in FY 2014:

1)    Market Dominant Rates and Fees:  The Commission finds that 18 workshare discounts did not comply with section 3622(e), which requires the Commission to ensure that workshare discounts do not exceed the costs avoided by the Postal Service as a result of mailers preparing the mail.

2)    Competitive Products Rates and Fees:   Rates for Parcel Return Service Contract 4, International Priority Mail, International Air Parcel Post, and International Money Transfer Service-Outbound were not in compliance because they did not cover attributable costs.  The Commission ordered the Postal Service to take corrective actions.

3)    Market Dominant Products Service Performance:  Despite overall improvements, the Commission found that a majority of market dominant mail products did not reach their annual service performance targets.           

4)    In the FY 2014 ACR, the Postal Service must provide a detailed analysis of the progress made in improving Periodicals cost coverage that includes the impact of leveraging its pricing flexibility and implementing operational strategies.

“While the Postal Service has made strides in FY 2013 in service performance,” Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway noted, “it’s important to correct those areas we identified that hurt its financial condition, and also to pay attention to meeting service standards and solving customer complaints.”

 The Commission is required to issue its ACD 90 days after the filing of the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Report.  A copy is available at Commission offices and may be found on the Commission’s website at 2013 Annual Compliance Determination

. The Commission analyzed the Postal Service’s financial condition in a separate report issued on March 18, 2014.

 

PRC says USPS should rethink “load levelling” scheme

prcThe Postal Regulatory Commission today issued its advisory opinion on the USPS’s plans to better spread advertising mail through the week by changing the daily delivery standards. The PRC found that the USPS hadn’t done enough testing to verify whether or not the plan would work, and has so far failed to gain support for the scheme from customers: Read the rest of this entry »

PRC Names David A. Trissell to General Counsel Post

prcWashington, DC – Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman, Ruth Y. Goldway, announced today that David A. Trissell has been selected by the Commission to assume the role of General Counsel in the Commission’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) effective March 24, 2014. Trissell succeeds Stephen Sharfman, who retired after 23 years as general counsel to the Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

PRC approves exigent rate increase- but only temporarily

prcThe Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved the US Postal Service’s request for an “exigent” rate increase (to 49 cents for a one ounce letter) to make up for revenue lost due to the recession. Because the rate hike is related to a temporary economic fluctuation, however, the rate increase is also temporary. How temporary? The PRC doesn’t say. However, the decision requires the USPS to develop a plan for rescinding the rate increase as soon as it has recovered the “lost” income. The PRC says that will happen within two years.

Here’s the PRC summary of its decision: Read the rest of this entry »

APWU tells members to report delayed mail to the PRC

APWU Web News Article #142-13, Dec. 23, 2013

apwulogoBusinesses, customers and APWU members who have complaints about delayed mail should be sure to let the Postal Regulatory Commission know, says Debby Szeredy, the union’s executive vice president. “Much of the delayed mail is in areas where plants and post offices have been consolidated or closed or where hours at post offices have been reduced,” she said.

“Filing complaints with the PRC will help document how egregious the problem is, so encourage your family, friends and neighbors to file complaints if they experience delays, too,” Szeredy said.

Filing a complaint online takes just a minute or two. To complete the form, start by selecting “Complaint.” Next, in the subject area, click the arrow and select “Mail Delivery/Postal Services.” Describe your complaint in the message box using 1,000 or fewer characters (letters) and include that you are requesting an investigation of your delayed mail.

If you are in an area where a plant or post office was consolidated, closed or faced reduced hours, be sure to include that in your complaint as well. Provide your name and address so that you can be contacted about the results. Print a copy of your complaint for your records by right-clicking on the mouse, then Click “Submit.” If you have a problem with your submission you may need to reduce the number of words in your complaint.

If you prefer, you also can send a letter to the PRC at the following address:

Public Affairs & Government Relations
901 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20268-0001

Once the PRC receives your complaint, it will be placed into the agency’s quarterly log and sent to the USPS. The Postal Service will respond to the PRC & the customer.

For more information on filing complaints with the PRC, click here, visit www.prc.gov or call 202-789-6800.

 

PRC Approves USPS Rate Increase; Implementation of Full Service IMb Remanded

prcWashington, DC -Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission issued its decision in Order 1890 on the Postal Service’s request to increase prices January 26, 2014. The Commission determined that the rates proposed by the Postal Service are consistent with the law, provided that the Postal Service does not implement Full Service IMb requirements concurrently with the proposed increased rates.

Full Service IMb requires each piece of mail, each bundle, and each pallet to have a unique identity barcode. The Commission determined that Full Service IMb mail preparation requirements are a classification change and that its effects must be included in its calculation of the percentage change in rates. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Collins says USPS exigent rate request not authorized by PAEA

Sen_Susan_Collins_officialMaine Senator Susan Collins R-ME has submitted a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission outlining her opposition to the US Postal Service’s “exigent” rate request. Collins argues that the USPS’s revenue losses “result from the effects of electronic diversion” rather than the recession, as the USPS claims. Collins says the PAEA law, which she authored, does not allow for an above-CPI rate increase based on electronic diversion, and asks the PRC to reject the request: Read the rest of this entry »

GOP shutdown closes PRC

From the Postal Regulatory Commission web site:

October 01, 2013

The Commission is closed until such time as an FY 2014 appropriation or a continuing resolution for the Commission has been approved. During the shutdown, the Commission’s Docket section will not be operational. However, filings may be submitted. All filings submitted during the shutdown will be processed and posted to the Commission’s website when the Commission resumes normal operations. The Commission recognizes that procedural schedules including filing dates may have to be adjusted as a result of a shut down. Motions requesting such procedural relief should be filed promptly after normal operations resume. Shoshana Grove Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer Postal Regulatory Commission 901 New York Avenue N.W. Suite 200 Washington, D.C. 20268-0001 Telephone: 202-789-6842 Fax: 202-789-6891 Shoshana.grove@prc.gov

Read more: Postal Regulatory Commission: Breaking News.

Appeals Court rules against USPS in PRC rate setting dispute

prcThe DC Appeals Court has thrown out the US Postal Service’s appeal of a PRC decision that found that the USPS had been too generous in the “workshare” discounts it gives mailers for presorting their mail. The USPS had argued, somewhat bizarrely, that the law limiting workshare discounts to costs actually avoided didn’t apply to first class presort because it is a different “product” than regular first class. As the court pointed out, however,

… the statutory language governing workshare discounts does not refer to products. We think the correct statutory analysis here is extremely simple and supports the Commission…

Read the rest of this entry »

Audio: PRC Chair Ruth Goldway discusses the Annual Compliance Determination with Postcom’s Gene Del Polito

From PostCom:

Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway in a discussion about the PRC’s recent issuance of its Annual Compliance Determination.

Click here to download the interview as an .mp3 file, or click the play button below to listen online.

Association for Postal Commerce.