Postal Updates

Postal Regulatory Commission rejects Postal Service’s planned 2020 rate increases

Nov 14, 2019, 1 PM
In a Nov. 13 order, the Postal Regulatory Commission rejected planned rate increases for United States first-class mail that are scheduled to become effective Jan. 26. The U.S. Postal Service announced the new rates on Oct. 9.

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

The Postal Regulatory Commission has rejected planned rate increases for first-class mail that are scheduled to become effective Jan. 26.

In a Nov. 13 order, the commission directed the United States Postal Service to rework rates for “inbound letter post,” saying that the proposed increases are in excess of what a price cap allows.

“Letter post” is a Universal Postal Union term. Inbound letter post applies to letters, postcards, printed papers and small packets weighing up to 2 kilograms coming into the United States from other countries.

The commission expressed optimism that the rates can be revamped in time for the planned rate change.

The order remands all proposed first-class price adjustments to the USPS “to modify its proposal to comply with the applicable legal standards.”

The commission calculated the planned first-class increases at 2.109 percent. This exceeds the 1.933 percent increase that is allowed, the PRC said.

The order said the USPS miscalculated the first-class change to be 1.926 percent.

The PRC directed the new rates to be filed in time for a seven-day period of comment before being implemented.

When the Postal Service announced the new rates on Oct. 9 (Linn’s, Oct. 28, page 19), it did not spell out the first-class rates that would be increased.

“If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the new prices will include no increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, which would remain at 55 cents,” the Postal Service said.

“The single-piece letter additional ounce price would remain at 15 cents. Also unchanged would be the prices of postcard stamps at 35 cents, and 1-ounce flats at $1.”

Postal Service spokesman David A. Partenheimer said that the price adjustments subject to PRC’s remand were small and “would not have a material effect on our projected revenues.”

“In accordance with the PRC’s order, the [Postal Service’s board of governors is] expected to revisit First-Class Mail prices in response to the PRC’s order, and any subsequent filing of revisions with the PRC will occur no later than Dec. 12,” he said.

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