The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued its Annual Compliance Determination (ACD), a mandated assessment of the U.S. Postal Service’s compliance with pricing and service performance requirements in fiscal year 2017 (FY 2017). While the Commission acknowledges some areas of improvement, it identifies several compliance issues related to workshare discounts, noncompensatory Market Dominant products, Competitive products, service performance, and continued cost and service problems with flat-shaped mail (flats). Workshare Discounts: The Commission identified 42 workshare discounts with compliance issues. Out of the 42, 20 of the discounts did not comply with section 3622(e). No action by the Commission was required for 7 of the 20 workshare discounts because price changes aligned the discounts with avoided costs or the Postal Service eliminated the discount. Thirteen workshare discounts remained out of compliance prompting the Commission to direct the Postal Service to either align workshare discounts with avoided costs in the next Market Dominant price adjustment or specify an applicable statutory exception. Click Read More below for additional information.
Absent Congressional or court action to extend or make permanent an existing exigent surcharge for mailing products and services – including the Forever stamp — the Postal Service will be required to reduce certain prices on Sunday, April 10, 2016. This mandatory action will worsen the Postal Service’s financial condition by reducing revenue and increasing its net losses by approximately $2 billion per year.
“The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition.”
An order from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) requires the 4.3 percent exigent surcharge to be reversed after the Postal Service has collected surcharges totaling $4.6 billion. As outlined in a notice filed with the PRC today, that amount is expected to be reached by April 10th.
Postal Service prices for Mailing Services are capped by law at the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U). However, the law does allow for exigent pricing (price increases beyond the CPI-U cap) due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances. That was the case when the Postal Service sought and ultimately received approval for the current exigent pricing, citing the severe effects of the Great Recession on Postal Service mail volume.
However, the PRC did not accept the views of the Postal Service concerning the extent of the harm resulting from the Great Recession, and the PRC strictly limited the period of time that the Postal Service could continue to collect the exigent surcharge. While the Postal Service has experienced rapid growth in package volume over the past few years, it is not nearly enough to offset the decline in revenues from Market-Dominant products, especially First-Class Mail.
Brennan added that the Postal Service’s current pricing system, where products that generate roughly 76 percent of its revenues fall under the statutory price cap, is fundamentally unsuited to the Postal Service’s current business environment in which First-Class Mail volume continues to decline and the network costs required to provide universal service continue to rise.
According to Brennan, “our current pricing regime is unworkable and should be replaced with a system that provides greater pricing flexibility and better reflects the economic challenges facing the Postal Service.”
more at: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2016/pr16_009.htm