PRC approves postage increases

November 28, 2012

WASHINGTON—The Postal Regulatory Commission on Nov. 16 gave approval to proposed new postage prices to go into effect Jan. 27, 2013, including a 1 cent increase on the First-Class stamp to 46 cents. Proposed new Periodicals rates averaging 2.9 percent for in-county and 2.5 percent for outside county were also OK’d. (See the November 2012 Postal Tips for details on Periodicals prices.)
But the PRC has rejected the proposed rates for flat-rate Standard Mail, the category most used by the catalog industry. Along with Periodicals in the flats mailstream, Standard flats have shown substantial cost increases in mail processing that have not been explained by the U.S. Postal Service. The consequence for both Standard and Periodicals is that the revenue generated by the mail classes and categories do not fully cover their costs.
The Standard rates have been sent back to USPS for adjustment because of a USPS failure to increase them according to previous PRC directives. A battle last year between USPS and the PRC over the commission’s authority to require higher rates resulted in an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals affirming the PRC’s stance.
The category most used by newspaper shoppers and TMC publications, the Carrier Route rate, is not targeted for an increase. Theoretically, those rates could see some downward adjustment to proposed average 2 percent increases if the Postal Service determines it can generate more revenue from the catalogs. Action on the final rates is likely to be completed before the January implementation date.

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