Thursday, January 13, 2011

Postal Service to Adjust Prices

/PRNewswire/ -- The first U.S. Postal Service price change in two years will have minimal impact on retail customers who will continue to pay only 44 cents for a stamp.

The prices filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today will become effective April 17.

Highlights of the pricing proposal include:

* First-Class letters (1 oz.) remain unchanged at 44 cents,
* First-Class letter additional ounces increase to 20 cents,
* Postcards will cost 29 cents,
* Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) increase to 80 cents, and
* Letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents.


"While changing prices is always a difficult decision, we have made every effort to keep the impact minimal for consumers and customers doing business with us at retail lobbies," said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. "We will continue to balance our business needs against the needs of our customers."

The overall average increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 1.7 percent – at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index – although actual percentage price increases for various products and services will vary.

Prices will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services. Larger volume business mailers will see price increases in a variety of categories. Detailed pricing information will be available later today online at www.usps.com/prices . Today's announcement does not affect Express Mail and Priority Mail prices.

In July 2010, the Postal Service filed an exigent price proposal that was rejected by the Postal Regulatory Commission in September. The Postal Service filed an appeal of that decision with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in November and awaits a decision.

Faced with decreased mail volume traced to the recession and increased use of the Internet, the Postal Service continues to face a daunting financial crisis. Increasing prices is one of a series of solutions the Postal Service proposed in March 2010 to address the crisis. Other actions outlined in the March plan included changes to delivery frequency, restructuring prepayments of future retiree health benefits, creating a more flexible workforce and expanding access to products and services to places more convenient to customers. In December, Donahoe began a reorganization of all administrative and managerial functions as part of his vision to operate "leaner, faster and smarter."

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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