USPS Offers Later Increase Date in Rate Case Settlement

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The U.S. Postal Service has pushed back the starting date for increases under its rate case settlement proposal from June 2 to June 30, the agency said this week.

Many businesses, especially those with a fiscal year ending June 30, had opposed the June 2 date, saying it would add to expenses at a time their budgets had no room for added costs.

"I understand that the views of several organizations are influenced, among other things, by the financial impacts of the rate and fee increases in current adverse economic conditions," postmaster general John Potter said in a statement.

The postal service wants the settlement to eliminate uncertainty about the timing and amount of the next rate increase. Under the proposal, rates would rise 8.7 percent overall. Without the settlement, the next increase probably would be in September or October but would be much larger, postal officials warn.

Potter also sought to ease concerns among mailers that the postal service might try for another rate increase in 2002 even if there is a rate case settlement.

"What I can say now is that the postal service currently has no plans to initiate a subsequent rate case," he said. "Furthermore, if a settlement is achieved enabling the [USPS] to increase revenues, I would prefer not to have to begin the process of seeking further increases during fiscal year 2002."

The postal service originally set a deadline of today for comment on the settlement proposal but has extended it to Jan. 3.

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