Postal Regulatory Commission Approves Postage Increase; Rejects Full Service IMb Adjustment
Yesterday, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) determined that the rates proposed by the USPS (averaging 1.6 percent) are consistent with the law, provided that the Postal Service does not implement Full Service IMb requirements concurrently with the proposed increased rates. (Note: The USPS proposed its 4.3 percent exigent postage increase in a separate filing. A decision on exigency will be rendered by the PRC soon.)
Full Service IMb requires each piece of mail, each bundle, and each pallet to have a unique identity barcode. The PRC determined that Full Service IMb mail prep requirements are a classification change and that its effects must be included in its calculation of the percentage change in rates.
Concurrent implementation of the proposed rate adjustments and the Full Service IMb requirements would result in increases in First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Periodicals that exceed the statutory Consumer Price Index price cap, currently at 1.696 percent.
“While we encourage the Postal Service to expand its capacity to track and measure the performance of mail services, this cannot be accomplished in a manner that effectively raises rates by 4.1 percent and 4.9 percent for First Class and Standard Mail," said Chairman Ruth Goldway in a statement.
USPS Must Resolve SM 5-Digit Discounts
Additionally, the PRC found that the Postal Service must resolve unequal commercial and nonprofit discounts for Standard Mail 5-digit automation flats. The proposed rates violate the requirement that disparities between commercial and nonprofit discounts must be justified by a statutory exception.
The Postal Service may implement the proposed rate adjustments, minus the Full Service IMb requirements, effective Jan. 26, 2014. Alternatively, the Postal Service may adjust its proposed rates for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Periodicals rates in a manner comparable to the implementation of Full Service IMb requirements in Package Services and file amended rates. The USPS must notify the PRC of its intentions and provide necessary supporting documents by Nov. 27.
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