Some question May 6 postal increase date

Postmaster General Jack Potter said on Sept. 20 that he expects the new postal rates to take effect on May 6, 2007. But some observers say that, given the complexity of the pending rate case, a summer implementation is more likely.

The postal rate case proposed on May 3 calls for an average rate increase of about 8.5%. But unlike the rate hike implemented this past January — 5.4% across the board — the pending case is much more variable. The proposed increase for Standard Mail is about 9%, for instance, while package services will rise an average of 13.4%. The case also proposes new sortation levels and worksharing options.

Ed Gleiman, former chairman of the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) and now a consultant with the Direct Marketing Association, thinks July 1 is a more realistic date for implementation of the new rates. “May 6 is the earliest possible date unless the case is finished early and everything breaks exactly their way,” he says.

By law the PRC has up to 10 months to issue a recommended decision on the Postal Service’s request. The 10-month period for this case ends in March.

When reached for comment on Sept. 21, USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer said, “No official date has been set.”

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