Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

Postal Regulatory Commission to begin postal rates review in late December

September 06, 2016 08:52 AM

  • The Postal Regulatory Commission announced Sept. 1 that it would begin a review of its system of regulating postal rates in late December. Despite objections from postal officials, the PRC is unlikely to change how it regulates the U.S. Postal Service.

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

It is no secret in Washington that top officials at the United States Postal Service would like to do away with the Postal Service’s overseer, the Postal Regulatory Commission.

With a board of governors and Congressional oversight, the PRC really isn’t needed, they say.

It’s also apparent to most postal observers that neither the regulator nor Congress has any intention of bowing to those objections.

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Still, it’s likely that the USPS and the PRC will get a chance to vent their frustrations with each other in a new regulatory proceeding that begins Dec. 20.

The commission announced Sept. 1 that it will begin a detailed review of its system of regulating postal rates in late December.

The review was mandated 10 years ago by the infamous Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the PRC said.

That’s the law that also is blamed for most of the financial ills that the USPS has encountered in recent years by mandating that the Postal Service must pre-fund all its retirees’ expected healthcare expenses in advance.

In repeated filings with the PRC, the USPS has made clear it doesn’t like the way it’s being regulated.

It wants more freedom to introduce new products and to quickly adjust its prices to market conditions.

Those arguments are expected to be aired once again in the new proceeding.

The PRC said it will accept comments on how it’s been doing in “early spring [2017]” from the public and all parties.

It will likely issue its findings in “early autumn [2017]” and it’s regarded as unlikely that it will do away with its mission of overseeing the USPS.