Earlier this year, newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified in front of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He was brought to the pillory to answer for changes made to the USPS that included cutting overtime and limiting post office hours, which caused politicians and postal workers across the country to hit a panic button. These very reasonable directives are necessary as DeJoy will attempt to turn-around the, often-misunderstood, health of the US Postal Service.
The USPS is an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government and is not funded by appropriations. However, it is not independent of rule from the government. Back in 2006, Congress passed a law that guaranteed the entity would continually face a financial battle by passing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The PAEA requires the Postal Service to pre-fund its post-retirement health care costs, 75 years into the future. This extraordinary financial burden applies to no other federal agency or private corporation.
If the costs of the retiree health care mandate were removed from the USPS financial statements, the Post Office would have reported operating profits in each of the last six years. Many people may be surprised to learn that in the third quarter of fiscal 2020, the Postal Service reported an increase in total revenue of 3.2% compared to the same period last year. Credit goes to the increase of shipping and package delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we anticipate the trend to continue given the surge in e-commerce. The PAEA retirement mandate created a financial “crisis” that has been used to skew public perception of the postal service and allows politicians to “throw rocks” at those who do understand the real challenges facing the USPS today.
Moving the mail is all about logistics. Making the entity that delivers the mail more efficient and streamlined will decrease delivery time, keep product pricing down, and just might allow the largest transportation fleet in the world to grow into an amazing success story.
For over 30-years USPS leaders have been searching for ways to sort and process mail using more automation and increase the amount of time carriers spend delivering mail. It is simply ludicrous when politicians claim that the closure of a rural post office will delay delivery of prescriptions or imply that five-day delivery is somehow denying citizens their right to receive mail. As with any organization that needs to become current and profitable, we must all keep an open mind on ways the USPS can successfully operate throughout the 2020’s.
After sitting on the Washington DC hot seat, DeJoy suspended many of his controversial changes and promised not to make any more until after the November elections. Rest assured that mail is being delivered and marketing via direct mail remains a viable and money-making way to market. We will keep you abreast of the latest happenings as they unfold.
Elvis Presley is heading to a post office near you in time for this year’s Elvis Week celebration in Memphis, Tennessee. The USPS announced the King of Rock and Roll will be immortalized in a stamp collection once again.
Beginning August 12, the greatest hist CD, Elvis Forever, will be available online and in some post offices along with the stamp.
The new USPS delivery standards for First Class and Standard Mail that take effect on July 1, 2015 have been published. However, we have continued to experience slow delivery both local and regional, especially with standard mail. We encourage our clients, especially those mailing to promote scheduled events, to drop your mail an extra 7 days earlier to ensure timely delivery of your marketing mail! We will continue to keep you apprised of delivery in the coming months as we prepare for the upcoming back to school and holiday seasons.
New delivery standards for Standard Mail will take effect on July 1, 2015. See below for details:
We have experienced slower than normal standard mail delivery locally and regionally. See details on what Houston mailers are experiencing and read our recommendations for the coming back to school and holiday seasons. Read More…
After three tries, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) finally approved the proposed prices and classifications for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services yesterday.
The new pricing and classification changes for all market-dominant mail classes and competitive products take effect on May 31, 2015. Below are the new rates:
Would you like a 2015 BEB POSTAL RATE CARD? These cards are double sided with nonprofit rates on one side, and for profit Standard & First-Class rates on the other. They also include handy dimension minimums/maximums and other mailing requirements. Printed on sturdy card stock and measuring at 9″ high X 8″ wide, these cards are excellent reference material and they are FREE! If you would like one mailed to you, click here.
Two weeks ago the Postal Regulatory Commission sent the Postal Service’s rate and classification proposals for Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Package Services back for corrections and amendment. Last week the revised proposed rates were resubmitted, and for a second time, the PRC remanded the rate case stating the Postal Service has not complied fully with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Once the rate proposal is updated, the PRC will allow 7-days for public comment. In a statement released last week, the PRC also noted; “The Postal Service states that the revised prices are scheduled to go into effect on April 26, 2015. … Pursuant to [statute], no rate shall take effect until 45 days after the Postal Service files a notice specifying that rate.”
Our good friend and postal expert, Leo Raymond of Epicomm wrote; “Though I’m not a lawyer, that last sentence seems to sink the Postal Service’s plans for an April 26 implementation date — at least for Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Package Services. (The proposed rates and classification changes for First-Class Mail, and competitive products were approved earlier, and there’s no legal reason why implementation of those rates would have to be delayed, though implementing them separately would be a major headache for mailing companies and their software providers.)”
If the USPS HQ can update and resubmit by Monday, and allowing for the seven days for comment, add another few days for the PRC to deliberate, and assuming it doesn’t remand the filing a third time, it’s reasonable to not expect an order on final rates in April. This means that it is possible that the 45-day clock won’t start until the date of the PRC order putting rate implementation (for the three classes involved at least) into mid-May.
Washington, DC – Today the Postal Regulatory Commission returned proposed rate adjustments for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services classes to the Postal Service to allow for modifications that comply with applicable legal requirements. The rate increases are proposed to be implemented April 26, 2015.
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 provides for ratemaking flexibility and allows the Postal Service to adjust rates for Market Dominant products as long as the increase for each class of mail meets certain statutory and regulatory requirements, the most prominent of which is that such increases are kept under the rate of inflation, as determined by the Consumer Price Index.
A Commission review of the Postal Service’s proposal to adjust rates for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services found that:
• In Standard Mail, certain unequal commercial and nonprofit discounts, certain workshare discounts, and the Postal Service’s methodology for calculating certain billing determinants do not comply with applicable legal requirements.
• The Commission was unable to make statutorily required findings to determine price cap compliance due to incorrect adjusted billing determinants relating to the Postal Service’s new FSS prices for Periodicals bundles, sacks, and pallets.
• The Commission was unable to make statutorily required findings to determine price cap compliance for Package Services products due to incorrect adjusted billing determinants and incorrect price cap calculations.
The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has issued orders approving some of the price changes proposed earlier by the Postal Service. After its review of the USPS filing, discussion of the input from commenters, and its own analysis, the PRC found that “the planned” prices for First-Class Mail do not violate the price cap.
The PRC has also approved the price increase for competitive products (proposed on January 26), except for some rates associated with products whose transfer from “market dominant” to “competitive” remain under review.
Rate increases will take effect on April 26, 2015. You can view the new rates by clicking below:
If you currently hold a mailing permit number that is issued from the Downtown Houston Post Office, you will need to make some changes.
As closure of the Downtown Post Office completes, all permit numbers issued from there must be re-issued from the North Houston office.
To make the transition, you are required to re-apply (at no additional charge) for a North Houston permit number. However, North Houston may not be able to assign the same number you were given from the Downtown Post Office. If the number issued from Downtown is not currently taken by another mailer in North Houston, you will be assigned the same number. Otherwise, you will be issued a new number.
This process must be completed no later than June 15, 2015
Inventory of items already printed with the Houston permit information will be accepted throughout the balance of this year. If you currently use a permit with the verbiage “Houston”; when creating new inventory, you will need to use the verbiage, “N. Houston” going forward. A sample for your review is below.
You can see detailed standards for mailing permit verbiage by clicking here or you can contact the North Houston Post Office at 713-226-3032.
If you need additional information or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at 713-528-5568.
Today the U.S. Postal Service filed a request with the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) for a rate adjustment (1.966%) based on the CPI (Consumer Price Index). The request for increase applies to only “market-dominant products”, which includes Standard Mail, the primary postage used by marketers.
The USPS has requested that the increase take effect on April 26 and estimates that it will generate an additional $900 million on an annualized basis. The USPS estimates that an additional $400 million will be contributed to the fiscal year 2015, if the PRC agrees to meet the proposed implementation date.
The case also includes a separate pricing structure for Standard Mail run through the FSS (Flats Sequencing System). The request removes FSS pricing for carrier route, high density, or high density plus categories. Instead, a five-digit carrier route pallet rate will be created. An estimated 2.465% rate increase is predicted for Standard Flats.
Forever stamps will remain unchanged (49 cents), International letters will increase to $1.20 (a 5 cent increase), and postcard rates increase to 35 cents (a 1 cent rate hike).
We will keep you abreast of the outcome of this filing as it becomes available.