Potter Says USPS Must Be Ready for May 6 Rate Increase

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NEW YORK-- Postmaster General John E. Potter told U.S Postal Service business customers Sept. 20 that the agency must prepare for a possible May 6 postal rate change implementation date.

Mr. Potter made the announcement via satellite from the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas, to an audience of more than 15,000 mailing partners and customers nationwide. The speech was part of the USPS' s annual National PCC Day, which honors Postal Customer Councils. DM News viewed the telecast at an event held by the Greater New York PCC at the James A. Farley Post Office. The event was sponsored by Edison, NJ-based Reliable Mail Service Inc. 

"Right now the plan is that we raise rates in May," Mr. Potter said. "There are a lot of people talking about asking us if we can extend that. We don't know what the economics are going to be like for the postal service come May...But we have to be ready on May 6 if that is what the Board of Governors decide."

The USPS filed May 3 for an average 8.5 percent rate increase with the Postal Rate Commission. For business mailers, it generally means increases of 7 percent to 18 percent, based on averages for various mail classes. When the USPS files for an increase, it begins a 10-month regulatory process followed by a vote of the governors. The Postal Rate Commission is expected to make a recommendation on the rate case next March.

"We would not be raising rates unless it were absolutely, positively not necessary," Mr. Potter said. "Unfortunately, there are economic drivers that have us need to raise rates."

He also said that a Federal Register Notice focusing on mail preparation issues would be published next week.

Mr. Potter also told PCC members to make sure to read the notice and "be very open with us, because there are still opportunities to make suggestions…We want to make whatever changes are necessary and we want do that early, so people can plan for the rate change sometime in the spring."

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