USPS Sets May 31 Implementation Date for Price Changes
The USPS has two separate and distinct product categories—Market Dominant Products and Competitive Products. The categories look like this:
Market Dominant Products Competitive Products
- First-Class Mail (Letters & Flats) • First-Class Package Service
- Standard Mail • Priority Mail & Priority Mail Express
- Periodicals • Parcel Select & Parcel Select Lightweight
- Bound Printed Matter
On April 16, the USPS responded to its second remand by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on its Notice of Market Dominant Price Adjustment for 2015. By law, the USPS must provide a minimum of 45 days notice prior to the implementation of a price change, setting the stage for a May 31 effective date.
This price change was surrounded by an unusual series of events that could have been more challenging for postal rate payers and the USPS.
These events started back in February, when the PRC approved price changes for Competitive Products and First-Class Mail. The new pricing was initially slated to be implemented April 26. However, because the PRC twice remanded proposed price changes for Standard Mail, Periodicals and Bound Printed Matter, the implementation date was pushed well past that date to provide the required 45 days notice.
The USPS gave serious thought to making two prices changes in such quick succession: the one for Competitive Products on April 26, soon to be followed by the one for Market Dominant Products. The mailing industry as a whole struggled with the idea of staggered price changes and encouraged the USPS to implement them all at one time.
Thankfully, the USPS listened to the voice of the customer, agreeing to a single implementation date for all price changes.
“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 wrote in an in an Industry Alert dated March 27.
At DHL eCommerce, we anticipate the PRC will approve the USPS’ proposed Market Dominant price changes any day now, and the Final Rules for mail preparation and price eligibility were issued in a Federal Register Notice on Monday, May 4th.
However, the bottom line is that we still don’t know what the outcome will be. Maybe we will find out tonight, or perhaps tomorrow—but whatever the decision may be, we will be sure to keep you posted.
Update: On May 7, 2015, the PRC has approved the remanded Market Dominant filing submitted by the Postal Service. This is the ‘green light’ for all system go for May 31st. The complete docket of the Remand Orders can be found here.