Nonprofit Postage On Way Back Up

The break on First Class postage will be short-lived and Standard Mail will have a new name under a proposal by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS yesterday filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for 2017 mailing services prices, which includes a 2-cent increase in First Class postage, and almost 3-percent increases on what currently is called Standard Mail. First Class postage would return to 49 cents. First Class postage had dropped to 47 cents in April after USPS was required to remove the exigent surcharge that had been in effect for more than two years.

The PRC will review the prices before they take effect on Jan. 22, 2017.

Standard Mail will be renamed Marketing Mail “to better align the product name with our customer’s use of this mail class,” according to USPS. Proposed changes within the class include removal of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) pricing, which will “ensure that mailers pay for flats based on their volume density instead of the equipment flats are processed on.”

FSS is a flat-mail ordering system for mail, such as magazines and catalogs. USPS since last year has offered special FSS pricing to incentivize mailers to go to facilities that use the system.

The piece/pound breakpoint for Marketing Mail Flats and Parcel shaped pieces also would rise from 3.3 ounces to 4 ounces. The change is meant to encourage mailers “to include more content, which will lead to more sales for mailers and support volume growth,” according to the USPS.

The Postal Service filed with the PRC in 2010 for a 4.3-percent surcharge that ultimately was granted but capped at $4.6 billion. The surcharge went into effect in January 2014 and lasted 27 months. The USPS had argued that surcharge only “partially alleviated” revenue declines of more than $7 billion in 2009 alone that it blamed on the recession.