USPS Files for CPI Rate Increase; Briefs Submitted in Exigency Appeal
While awaiting the outcome of the Postal Service’s appeal of its loss in the exigency case, on January 13, the Postal Service filed for a 1.7% CPI-capped rate increase, to be implemented on April 17, 2011. The increase for Periodicals Outside County is 1.8% -- balanced by a 1.1% increase for In-County Periodicals. The rate increase within Periodicals is not across the board, with the rate for carrier route presorted pieces going up 2.2% and the rate for origin-entered pallets going up 3%.
A CPI-capped rate increase had been widely expected, although originally anticipated to be filed in February. With the Postal Regulatory Commission’s calculation of the allowable increase headed downward since December, the Postal Service filing on January 13 beat the Bureau of Labor Statistics announcement of December CPI results on January 14. Had USPS waited, the maximum increase allowed for each class would have been 1.64%, versus 1.74%.
The PRC now has up to 45 days to review the filing. On January 19th, the PRC issued a press release seeking public comments on the Postal Service’s proposed rate increases. Comments are due by February 2nd. To maximize the time available for software changes and implementation of the rate changes, the PRC has announced that it will issue its decision on the CPI rate increase within 14 days after conclusion of the public comment period – that is, by February 16th.
In the exigency case appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, on January 14th, the Department of Justice filed its brief in support of the PRC’s decision to reject the exigency rate increase. Also on that date, the Affordable Mail Alliance (the mailing industry coalition organized by MPA) and about a dozen other organizations that had intervened in the exigency proceeding filed a joint brief supporting the PRC decision. Continuing her support of our efforts throughout the exigency proceeding, Senator Susan Collins of Maine filed an Amicus Curae brief in support of the PRC on the 14th as well. In the final action before oral arguments, the Postal Service files its reply brief on January 28th. The Court of Appeals has scheduled oral argument in the case for March 15th.
In other PRC action, the Commission held a public forum on January 11 to discuss potential changes to the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act (PAEA), which is due for a five year review in 2011. The PRC will be receiving comments on the PAEA, how it has been functioning, and recommendations for legislative “fixes”, until February 1st. Also ongoing before the Commission is its Annual Compliance Review of the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Report for 2010, which was submitted to the PRC on December 29th. Comments on the Postal Service’s Report are due February 2nd, and the Commission will issue its Annual Compliance Determination in March. MPA will be submitting comments on both the PAEA and the Annual Compliance Report.