Guest Column: Postage Rates Rising
Finally, the USPS continues to pursue five-day delivery (eliminating Saturday delivery) as a source of $2.5 billion to $3 billion savings annually. This effort, however, is losing support in the private sector and in political circles.
If HR 5746 and the re-computation of retiree health benefit funds were successful, it would put $7.5 billion to $8 billion back into the USPS annually for 10 years. Theoretically, this could hold back an exigent increase.
These possibilities hold the intrigue of a fictional Hollywood thriller with the all-too-real possibility of unpredicted numbers in the final rate case analysis for 2011. We all need to stay vocal and prolific in our support of change to keep prices down.
The Rate Increase Proposal
Here are highlights of the pricing proposal and incentives:
● First-Class Mail: Single-piece, 1 oz. letters and postcards go up 2 cents to 46 cents and 30 cents, respectively. Commercial First-Class Mail letter and flat rates average a 5-percent to 5.6-percent increase.
Some First-Class Mail pieces with Business Reply cards or envelopes up to 1.2 oz. can pay the 1 oz. rate for one year after the case is implemented, accompanied by volume conditions and the need for Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes.
● Standard Mail: Between a 5-percent and 6-percent increase is anticipated for flats and letters. Percentages for 1 oz. to 4 oz. machinable flats are proportionately lower to partially offset high increases from earlier pricing cases.
Discount incentives are being offered for one year for standard mail sorted to saturation levels with volume considerations and barcode (IMB) conditions.
Flats not meeting requirements of the deflection or "droop" test will force standard mail flats to the standard parcel category and periodicals flats to the nonmachinable category.
Standard mail parcels will see a 23-percent increase partly because of these changes.
Ed Mayhew worked for the Postal Service for 37 years, becoming one of the most recognized experts on periodicals mail in the country. Ed was a part of the Rates and Classification Service Center (RCSC), ending his career as a Classification Specialist in the New Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York City. He has written rulings, instructions and articles for postal publications, appeared as an expert witness in court, a rebuttal witness for the Postal service at the Postal Rate Commission, co-authored postal handbooks and applications, and was the RCSC coordinator for six postage rate cases.
He is the 2002 winner of the Angelo R. Venizian award for contributions to the publishing industry, the first postal winner of that award in its history.
Ed has made training videos appearing on radio and TV, speaks at numerous seminars and is an 11-time top National Postal Forum speaker. He is founder and president of consultancy Eddie Mayhew’s Classification Station. Contact Ed at 973-462-5662, E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eddiemclass.