Don’t Forget: USPS Price Changes Take Effect This Weekend!

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved all of the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) proposed price increases. The implementation date for these approved prices is January 17, 2016.

Again – the final implementation date for these price changes is January 17, 2016. That’s this Sunday! 3 days from today!

Overall Changes
The new prices are available in Excel and .csv format on the Postal Explorer web site. The draft postage statements are also available on the same web site. Please note that this price change does not impact all mailing classes, so for some mailings the new January 2016 postage statements will be required, whereas for other mailings, the current May 2015 postage statements may still be used.

Software Updates
If you have not already done so, mailers will need to update their mailing and shipping software to accommodate these new prices. There is no new Mail.dat® file format specification version associated with this price change. Here is what will be supported as of January 17th:

January 17, 2016
-USPS will support Mail.dat 14-2 Errata versions 14.2.1.8 and 15-1 Errata 15.1.0.4
-USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 14-2, errata versions including 14.2.1.8
-USPS will continue to support all Mail.dat 15-1, errata versions including 15.1.0.4

As a reminder – there was a mandatory PostalOne! update on January 3, 2016, which means that if you are a mailer who submits eDoc, you should have downloaded and installed the new USPS MD Client software on the 3rd.

IMPORTANT NOTE: PostalOne! will be releasing a patch to the MD Client software on Sunday, January 17, 2016. This patch is to correct issues with Mail Anywhere submissions, so if you submit Mail Anywhere mailings, you will need to download and install this patch. This is not a mandatory update, so non-impacted mailers are not required to download and install this patch, but are encouraged to do so.

USPS Prices Finally Finalized!

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) finally approved all of the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) proposed price increases. The PRC previously approved the proposed prices for First-Class Mail and Special Services, but remanded the rest of the mailing categories to the USPS, not just once, but twice! These remands forced the delay of the price implementation date, which was originally set for April 26, 2014. The new implementation date for these approved prices is now May 31, 2015.

Again – the final implementation date for these price changes is May 31, 2015.

Overall Changes
The new prices are available in Excel and .csv format on the Postal Explorer web site. The draft postage statements are also available on the same web site. Although this information is still marked as “proposed” and “draft” on the web site, they will be changed to “finalized” within the next few days.

Software Updates
Mailers will need to update their mailing and shipping software to accommodate these new prices. There is also a new Mail.dat file format specification going into effect at the same time, version 15-1.

Because it took so long to get approval of the proposed changes, it’s been quite a challenge for software providers to complete the coding necessary for these changes. As a result, mailers will also have a tight schedule to get the software updates installed and tested in time for the pricing implementation date.

Mailers should work closely with their software providers to download and install all the pertinent software updates as soon as they become available.

There will also be a mandatory PostalOne! update on May 17, 2015, which will require mailers who submit eDoc to download and install the new USPS MDR Client software as soon as it becomes available on the 17th.

Is There Anything Else?
Of course there is! In addition to the price changes, the USPS is offering the following four (4) new incentives/promotions:
1. Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion, May – July 2015
2. Advanced and Emerging Technology Promotion, May – October 2015
3. Color Transpromo Promotion, June – November 2015
4. Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion, July – December 2015

Additional Resources
Window Book is targeting a release date of May 14, 2015 for its software products impacted by these changes. Software subscribers may sign up to receive email notifications for any of our software product updates on our web site.

Postal Service Files Market Dominant Price Change

Postal Service Files Market Dominant Price Change
Proposes an Additional $0.9 Billion in Annualized Contributions

WASHINGTON ̶ On January 15, the Postal Service filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) a Market Dominant price change based on a Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap authority of 1.966%.

The Postal Service believes strongly in the value of mail and maintaining relevance for today’s customers, offering reasonable pricing, workshare incentives, and meeting its obligation to the American public to strengthen its financial condition.

All of the proposed price changes are based on CPI prices plus the Exigent Surcharge approved by the PRC in Docket Nos. R2013-10 and R2013-11.

Using the CPI, we estimate that this price change will generate an additional $0.9 billion in contribution on an annualized basis. If the PRC approves the filing, the proposed April 26 implementation of the prices will improve the FY 2015 financial outlook by $0.4 billion in contribution.

The key elements of the CPI case include the following:
• Above average price increases to address PRC concerns about underwater products
• Special Services simplification to reduce redundancy and improve customer ease of use
• Introduction of a separate Flats Sequencing System (FSS) pricing structure for Standard Mail and Periodicals
• Introduction of Carrier Route bundle and container pricing for non-FSS flats for Standard Mail and Periodicals
• Include four promotions (Earned Value Reply Mail, Color Transpromo, Emerging Technologies, Mail Drives Mobile)

Various industry webinars will be scheduled to offer depth and insight into the proposed changes.

In November, the Postal Service filed for the transfer of First-Class Mail Parcels to a competitive product and the elimination of Return Receipt for Merchandise as a special service. These matters are still pending with the PRC. For the purpose of this filing we are assuming that these products will remain in the Market Dominant category.

Priority Mail Price Changes

On July 1, 2014 the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for price adjustments to Priority Mail®. The implementation date for the new prices is September 7, 2014. While this filing must be approved by the PRC before the new prices are implemented, it is anticipated that the PRC will approve this request.

Price Changes
The Priority Mail pricing structure will remain as it currently exists. The proposal calls for an increase in the Retail Priority Mail prices at an average of 1.7%. Commercial prices will actually see a decrease, with Commercial Base prices going down an average of 0.9% and Commercial Plus prices decreasing an average of 2.3%. This is great news for commercial shippers, just in time for the holiday shipping season.

New postage statements reflecting these new prices will be introduced for the September 7, 2014 implementation date, and will be made available in late August.

Details of the proposal, including the new rate charts, may be found on the PRC web site. The USPS has also posted the new postage statements online on Postal Explorer, as well as the rate charts in Excel format.

Handling Change
This is an extremely short notice of this price change, so software vendors are feverishly working to incorporate these new prices into their software products. On a related note, the USPS is also making format and verbiage changes to postage statements for many other classes of mail, also effective on September 7, 2014. There is also a Mail.dat® specification version change taking place at the same time, from the current version 14-1 to the new 14-2 version. Window Book anticipates having updated releases of our software reflecting these new prices, new postage statements, and supporting the new 14-2 Mail.dat version available in August.

Resources
These changes will also require a PostalOne!® software update, which is scheduled for August 24, 2014. USPS sends out notifications of all PostalOne! outages and software updates using the DMM Advisory. You can subscribe to the DMM Advisory by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com.

 

New Pricing Strategy to Grow Priority Mail

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service today filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to change Priority Mail prices, including a reduction in prices on average for businesses and other customers who use Commercial Plus and Commercial Base online shipping services. The price change will include a modest increase for Priority Mail prices at Post Offices and other postal retail outlets. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in September 2014, are intended to offer more competitive pricing and build on Priority Mail’s popularity with customers.

http://prc.gov/prc-pages/library/detail.aspx?docketId=CP2014-55&docketPart=Documents&docid=89958&docType=Notice

http://www.presortmailer.org/members/EmailOptPreferences.aspx?id=25171453&e=mlundquist@windowbook.com&h=a59d0729011311f99d260f9166b317681bf2868c

Senators Rethink Rate Clause in Postal Bill

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was unsuccessful in getting Section 301 stricken from the Postal Reform Act of 2014 (PRA) in a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee markup session on January 29, but she may have succeeded in substantially altering it.

The offending-to-mailers rate setting clause put in the bill by authors Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) would install the 4.3% exigent increase as the rate baseline going forward and increase the annual rate cap to CPI plus 1%. Additionally, it would strip the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of its power to approve or deny rate increases and essentially hand a rubber stamp for price increases to the U. S. Postal Service. Read more.

Via Direct Marketing News

Baldwin holds the line for mailers.

DMA Appeals Postal Regulatory Commission Exigency Decision

Direct Marketing Association
Post Date: January 23, 2014

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) on Thursday joined with partners representing nearly the entire mailing community in filing an appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, seeking relief from the recent Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) decision to allow an exigent postal increase set to take effect on January 26.

In December 2013, the PRC announced that it would grant the United States Postal Service (USPS) request for an exigent postage increase of 4.3 percent (Order No. 1926 in Docket R2013-11). The 4.3 percent exigent rate is scheduled to be implemented simultaneously with an inflation-based rate adjustment of 1.7 percent approved earlier by the PRC.  Thus, mailers are facing a total price increase averaging 6.0 percent. Read more.

Via DMA

Scott Davis Named Acting USPS Controller

From USPS News Link:

CFO Joe Corbett has named Scott G. Davis the new Acting Controller VP. He is replacing Tim O’Reilly, who announced his pending retirement last month.

Davis previously served as SOX Management Control and Integration Manager. He also has worked as San Mateo Accounting Service Center Manager, Assets and Payables Manager, and District Finance Manager.

Davis holds a doctorate and master’s degree in business administration and is a certified public accountant. He is an Advanced Leadership Program graduate, a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and is currently working on a project to obtain his Black Belt certification.

Via Postalnews.com

 

PRC’s Goldway Tells What Was Behind the Exigency Decision

On December 24, 2013, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved an exigent increase that shot postal rates up 6% and sent direct mail marketers and their accountants back to their strategic models and financial forecasts to remake plans for 2014. Mailers had hoped the PRC would soften the blow with a lower percentage increase and were disappointed by the Commission’s ultimate decision to give USPS the rate it asked for.  Read more.

Via Direct Marketer News

News Byte: USPS Appeals the PRC’s Intelligent Mail Barcode Decision

In its decision approving the CPI postal rate increase in early December, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) simultaneously shot down the U.S. Postal Service’s request to expand full-service Intelligent Mail barcode requirements. As a result, mailers emerged from the holiday season with at least one gift from Postal authorities, but now even that’s not so sure.  Read more.

Via Direct Marketing News

 

USPS pushes for IMb requirement.