Postal rate case agreement still on the table

U.S. Postal Service rate case attorney Dan Foucheaux remains optimistic that a settlement on the current postal rate case can be reached. Postal Rate Commission (PRC) vice chairman George Omas suggested the agreement on Oct. 25 at one of the rate case’s first PRC hearings.

If the USPS, mailers, postal unions, and postal competitors do come to an agreement on the case, The Postal Service would not have to plead its case in numerous hearings. The typical rate case takes 10 months. If the parties come to an agreement, the USPS could increase its rates as soon as summer 2001, rather than in the fall.

Foucheaux says that any postal rate case is “kind of a zero-sum gain—what’s good for one mailer might be a loss for another. It’s always kind of a melee.” But reactions from the parties involved in the discussions so far “have been really supportive of the idea—surprisingly,” he adds. “The current economic situation has never existed before, and the Postal Service is facing challenges it has never had to deal with before. So I think everybody understands that, and it’s a reality that seems to unite everybody.”

It’s still unclear how long it might take for the parties to reach an agreement. Foucheaux says a progress report will be filed on Nov. 30, but he doubts it will shed any light on the situation.

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