November 22, 2023
The Postal Regulatory Commission made three important announcements today:
1.The regulator approved the USPS price changes for January 2024. Order 6814 is here.
2. The PRC acknowledged the concerns the Alliance and other mailers have expressed about to latest sets of rate hikes and agreed to something we have been urging: reconsideration of pricing regulations before the scheduled 5-year review in November 2025. For example, the Alliance said in our November 6 comments (attached) on the rate case:
The Commission need not wait until the five-year review, however. While it
cannot in this docket adjust the final rules adopted in Nov. 2020, it can certainly
evaluate right now, in this docket, whether the Postal Service’s pricing decisions are
exacerbating volume declines, whether the Postal Service has been increasing rates
too sharply, or whether the Postal Service is exercising business judgment.
The Commission today said on page 18 of its order approving the new rates:
Nonetheless, the Commission acknowledges the range of concerns raised by
commenters about the recent Market Dominant rate changes and the potential effects of
the regulations adopted in Docket No. RM2017-3. At this juncture, the Commission
believes further consideration of these issues is warranted. As a result, the
Commission intends in the near term to initiate an appropriate proceeding pursuant to
39 U.S.C. § 3622(d)(3) to explore such issues.
3. Separately, the PRC approved the first market-dominant mail Negotiated Service Agreement for Publishers Clearing House. Order 6813 is attached. This is good news for mailers. The regulator had made it virtually impossible for USPS to negotiate and implement customized pricing for mailers in recent years. Now it is approving prospecting mail rates at cost providing the mailings meet pre-agreed upon new volume goals from new customers. Similarly situated mailers might be able to successfully negotiate similar arrangements.
More on these developments to come.