At the National Postal Forum: Rate Case or No Rate Case?

Orlando, FL—Will there be a rate case this summer or won’t there? The answer depends on whom you ask.

In his final keynote address as postmaster general, William Henderson hinted on March 26 during the National Postal Forum here that the new rate case that the U.S. Postal Service has said it will propose this summer might not have to be.

Without revealing any details, Henderson said that “we’re not taking a potential rate hike as a given just yet. I’ve asked deputy postmaster general John Nolan to explore alternatives to filing a double-digit rate hike this year.”

The USPS has said it would file for another rate increase this summer; the subsequent rate hike would take effect just a year and a half after this past January’s hike. “I know many of you have said there may be other options here,” Henderson said. “And John is going to help us take a close look at them.”

But just 24 hours later, during a keynote session he led along with USPS chief operating officer John Potter, Nolan said, “There’s no avoiding the fact that we’re going to have to raise rates.” But he did add, “We don’t know the timing of the next rate case, its size, or how we’ll approach it.”

Nolan then harked back to Henderson’s message: “We’re looking for ways to jointly solve this financial situation in talking to mailers,” he said. “It’s definitely a cash problem, and we’re looking for ideas [from mailers] to approach this next rate case.”

Also on March 27, Postal Rate Commission (PRC) vice chairman and acting PRC chairman George Omas dismissed Henderson’s remarks outright, saying that there will definitely be a rate case later this year, with increases of 10%-15% likely.

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