PRC Grants Extension for Comments on Standard Flats Hike

There hasn’t been much good postal-related news for catalogers of late. But on April 5, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) gave them a glimmer of hope when it approved a request from the Coalition of Catalog Mailers (CCM) to extend the deadline to file comments in the reconsideration of recommended prices for Standard Mail flats, which could increase as much as 40%.

On March 29 the PRC issued a procedural schedule for the U.S. Postal Service’s rate case reconsideration of three categories: Priority Mail Flat Rate Box, the nonmachinable surcharge for First Class letters, and Standard Mail flats. Initial comments on the categories are due by April 12, and reply comments are expected by April 15. The PRC is also accepting motions to reopen the record—in other words, to accept additional testimony regarding the effect of the rate hikes in those three categories. Motions were due no later than April 4.

But due to CCM’s April 3 filing for late intervention, together with a request for a time extension to submit motions to reopen the record, the PRC has “suspended” all procedural dates relating to the reconsideration of Standard flats. Opposing comments to CCM’s notice of intervention are due April 13.

What does this mean to catalogers? “It means they get more time to file motions to reopen the case,” USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer says. “If reopened, that means new testimony — not just comments — will be taken. That will lengthen the timetable for the PRC to issue its opinion.”

To contact the PRC regarding the impact of the rate increases on your business, fax your letters to:

The Honorable Dan G. Blair
Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission

The PRC’s mailing address is:
901 New York Ave. NW
Suite 200
Washington DC

The BOG has set May 14 as the implementation date for changes in rates and fees, with the exception of periodicals, which take effect July 15. There is no guarantee that the PRC will alter its decision by May 14, the date the rates are to go into effect. If it isn’t resolved by May 14, the pending rate hike for flats will become effective.

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