Postal Service loses bid for slowdown on rate case appeal


In the context of the U.S. Postal Service’s zillion or so other problems, this one doesn’t loom very large, but the mail carrying agency has struck out in its bid for a stay in proceedings on the exigent rate case that began last year. In an order released today, the Postal Regulatory Commission said the case is “now ready to proceed,” and rejected the Postal Service’s request for the stay until Dec. 15.

This case dates back to July 2010, when the Postal Service sought approval for a package of rate increases that would have boosted the price of a first-class stamp from 44 to 46 cents. After the PRC uanimously rejected the proposed hikes in September 2010, the Postal Service appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In a highly technical ruling this May, the court basically upheld the commision’s decision, but asked it to explain how closely the amount of the proposed exigent rate increases had to match the amount of revenue lost because of exigent circumstances (in the Postal Service’s telling, those circumstances are a recession-related drop in mail volume).

The Postal Service went on to ask for the Dec. 15 delay on the grounds that proposed legislation would allow it to proceed with rate increases above the inflation rate anyway. In addition, an Obama administration proposal would let Congress impose the exigent increases without the PRC’s concurrence.

But mailing industry organizations were opposed. In today’s ruling, the commission noted that “the results of pending legislation are highly speculative,” adding that there is no guarantee that any of the bills cited by the Postal Service will be enacted by year’s end.


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