USPS, PRC Continue Pursuing Rate Case Settlement

Washington—U.S. Postal Service rate case attorney Dan Foucheaux says that the agency continues to discuss changing its current rate case to a settlement agreement format, which would likely enable the new rates to be implemented more quickly. Postal Rate Commission (PRC) vice chairman George Omas first recommended on Oct. 25 that the USPS pursue such an alternative in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent presence of anthrax in the mail stream.

“It’s an issue that has to be worked out,” Foucheaux says, adding that he doesn’t expect a final decision on the matter to be hammered out until next week at the earliest. “It’s been positively received by most rate case participants so far. Most are concerned about how rates will affect them and the timing of implementation of new rates.”

If the USPS, the PRC, and the mailers involved in the rate case agree to turn it into a settlement agreement, they’d rid themselves of the cumbersome process of hearings held before the PRC. And that could potentially give the USPS the ability to implement rates sooner than next August, which is the soonest it could initiate new rates following a full-blown rate case. Foucheaux says that the combination of an earlier implementation date with lower rates than originally proposed “is another possibility. But it’s only one of the issues that’s being discussed.”