USPS walks back rate increase


The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed rate increase for Standard Mail and Periodicals, which takes effect on May 31.

The commission’s ap­proval of the rates comes after it denied pre­vious Postal Service proposals filed in January and March.

The regulatory agency sent those proposals back to the Postal Service because discounts for commercial and non-profit mail were not “equal” as required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2005, and the rates contained numerous other errors, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

When the Postal Service responded on March 12 to the first remand of its January rate proposals, newspapers were surprised that the new proposal would have significantly increased the rates for Total Market Coverage products that are mailed at High Density Plus rates.

The Postal Service proposed a 5.75 percent increase in the per-piece charge for flats packages weighing over 3.3 ounces. Depending on the carrier route, newspapers’ TMC packages typically weigh above 3.3 ounces.

In response to this dramatic increase on heavier weight TMCs, the Newspaper Association of America contacted Postal Service officials to express concerns and remind them that, in 2014, USPS lowered rates for High Density Plus mail by 11 percent in an effort to encourage newspapers to keep TMCs in the nation’s postal system and not shift to private delivery.

Postal officials complied, and on April 16, officials submitted revised rates with a below rate-of-inflation 1.2 percent increase.