Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

No January United States postage rate increase planned

October 02, 2014 09:36 AM

Citing uncertainty over its challenge to the future of the 49¢ first-class letter rate, the United States Postal Service announced Oct. 1 that it has decided against seeking a boost in stamp prices in January.

“This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015,” the agency said in a brief statement.

The Postal Service has challenged the Postal Regulatory Commission’s emergency ruling that allowed it a 3¢ price increase effective Jan. 28. The commission held that the increase would be temporary and would have to be rolled back after about two years.

The U.S. Postal Service board of governors has disputed that ruling, arguing that the agency needs the added revenues that the 3¢ increase has provided.

It is not clear when the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., will rule on the case.

In the Oct. 1 statement, the Postal Service said that the governors “will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015.”

“As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes,” it said.

If the USPS fails to win a continuation of the 49¢ rate from the three-judge panel, it is most likely to appeal the case to the full appeals court.

A loss of the extra revenues would put pressure on postal officials to push ahead with controversial plans for closing 83 more mail-processing plants.

A majority of senators have urged the USPS to delay the closings, but the House of Representatives has not moved on postal legislation. This has raised the likelihood that the current Congress will not act on the agency’s repeated requests for financial help.

Based on the latest inflation index used to set stamp prices, rates could have been expected to rise about 1.58 percent in January.