Washington—The Postal Rate Commission (PRC) on Dec. 31 cancelled the postal rate case hearings scheduled to take place Jan. 3, 4, 7 and 8. Just three days earlier, on Dec. 28, the U.S. Postal Service had formally proposed that the rate case be converted to a settlement agreement, with new rates to be implemented on June 30. Mailers had protested the USPS’s earlier proposal for a June 2 implementation date.
Rate case participants have until Jan. 21 to challenge the USPS proposal, although the PRC will allow until Jan. 28 for all responses. If all parties involved in the case agree to the settlement agreement and the June 30 implementation, rates will be raised up to three months earlier than originally planned.
Suspension of the hearings will give the USPS time to lobby for the settlement. In addition to agreeing to hold off implementation until June 30, the USPS also agreed not to file for another rate hike until next October at the earliest.
“I agree with the Postal Service that steps must be taken to determine whether the proposed settlement provides a promising basis for a recommended decision,” PRC chairman George Omas said in issuing the postponement of the hearings. Omas had suggested the settlement on Sept. 24.