The U.S. Postal Service (USPS), whose rate increases for its first-class and competitive products were approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in late February, opted to push back the effective date for those increases after the PRC twice denied its requests for standard mail, periodicals and package services increases. The approved rate hikes were set to take effect April 26. Customers, like the International Mailers Advisory Group and the National Newspaper Association, learned of the USPS's decision to delay the price changes Friday.
"The Postal Service Governors decided [March 27] to delay the implementation of new market-dominant and competitive rates and classification changes until all of our proposed market-dominant changes are approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission," USPS said in a statement. "This decision was primarily motivated by a desire to eliminate potential adverse impacts on postal customers that might result from a staggered implementation of our new prices." The USPS has not set a new effective date, but noted it would not occur until after a new proposal is submitted to the PRC. The regulator requested more information, justification and corrections to errors submitted in the first two filings that were released March 6 and 18.
The PRC indicated there were unequal commercial and nonprofit discounts, improperly justified Standard Mail work-share discounts with pass-throughs above 100 percent and incorrect methodology for calculating billing determinant adjustments for all three classes, which prevented it from determining price cap compliance. "Rather than subject our customers to a piecemeal implementation of our new prices, the Postal Service has decided that the best course of action would be to wait until our complete price proposal is approved by our regulator," the statement said.
"We have no desire to saddle our valued customers with the additional costs and burdens of a staggered implementation while we work with the PRC to obtain final approval of our remaining prices."