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Postal Rate Increases Approved by PRC

The third time was the charm. After twice rejecting the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed price and classification changes for Standard Mail and Periodicals, the Postal Regulatory Commission today approved the agency’s most recent revisions. New prices, which represent an overall 1.937% increase for Standard Mail, will take effect on May 31.

Also as a result of today’s approval, the Postal Service’s four planned promotions (see below) for commercial mailers will proceed as originally scheduled, according to a USPS spokesperson. Until now, only the Earned Value promotion had been cleared for registration.

Rejections of the Postal Service’s first notice of changes filed January 15, and its revision filed March 12, came with more than 100 questions from PRC. The request approved today contained 134 changes in Standard Mail prices as a result. Because the 4.3% exigent surcharge remains in effect, but is scheduled to be removed later this year, the PRC had asked USPS to offer up two price lists—one with and one without the surcharge.

The Postal Service still has some homework to do for its regulatory body, however. Along with today’s order of approval, the PRC directed USPS to file proposed methodologies for determining the costs avoided for workshare discounts on presorted Flats Sequencing System mail, Standard Mail Carrier Route flats, and Periodicals.

The PRC had also called out USPS on an inequity of discounts between nonprofit and commercial mailers, with nonprofits getting the bad end of the deal. The PRC today recognized that the Postal Service’s revision equalized all discounts among the mailers.

The PRC’s charge in reviewing price and classification changes is to ensure that they meet the requirements of title 39, which governs the Postal Service’s ability to take annual rate increases based on the Consumer Price Index.

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