There is much debate on whether the Postal Service should continue the exigent price increase to offset unexpected losses during our most recent recession. Exigent price increase was designed to be temporary, to offset unexpected challenges that could compromise their service. Both the Postal Service and PRC see role of the exigent price increase differently. They are trying to establish the “new normal” following the recession. The PRC stated the “new normal” is established once most of the following criteria have been met:
- Macroeconomic indicators return to “near historic positive trends”.
- Such variable project a positive change in mail volume.
- USPS regains its ability to predict mail volumes.
- It becomes able to adjust to lower volumes.
Catalogers continue to wonder when and if the exigent price increase will be removed. Last week, we learned from the PRC Ruling Order 2623 that some progress is being made. Unfortunately, it’s moving slow and will be difficult to predict an exact outcome. The American Catalog Mail Association (ACMA) outlined in an article their take on the situation. They concluded that we should expect at least 8 more months with the exigent pricing in place.
The Commission will not be doing much to protect mailers from over-collection, but they did put in place some important reporting requirements for the Postal Service to follow. After each quarter, within 45 days, the Postal Service will report on incremental and cumulative surcharges and provide bi-weekly estimates of the same data beginning the quarter in which the Postal Service anticipates removing the surcharge. So there is some reason to be optimistic that we are moving in the right direction.
The best advice we can provide catalogers is to continue reaching out to your local government representatives and make sure they understand how important it is to keep Postal Service pricing in check. For folks who don’t have time to commit to this you can certainly support the ACMA through contributions. Without them we’d probably be facing even greater postal challenges.