STAMFORD, Conn., October 31, 2007 - Pitney Bowes Inc. today lauded the Postal Regulatory Commission for successfully creating new rules that ensure a vibrant future for the American mailstream.
The five-member commission has been working since January to write the regulations to implement the landmark postal reform bill signed into law last year. It has been a daunting task to translate the 28,000-word law into specific regulations that mailers and the U.S. Postal Service can use to guide their actions, and Pitney Bowes praised the commission's hard work and good results.
The rules create a new system to set postal rates for market-dominant products, which represent the vast majority of the Postal Service's business. The new system replaces the time-consuming and expensive "rate cases" used under the old law. In the new system, overall postal rates are capped at the rate of inflation (Consumer Price Index) and can be adjusted more frequently, thereby reducing the negative impact of infrequent and large changes in the cost of postage.
"This is a historic moment in the development of the U.S. mailstream," said Pitney Bowes President and CEO Murray Martin. "We believe the commission found the regulatory sweet spot, and that will bring lasting benefits to anyone who wants to send or receive mail."
The highlights of the new rules include:
- A cap on annual rate increases for most classes of postal products, allowing mailers to plan and budget more effectively and encourage investment in the mailstream;
- Dynamic pricing that allows the U.S. Postal Service to use seasonal or temporary rates that give mailers incentives for "off-peak" mailings;
- Worksharing discounts that fully reflect the Postal Service's avoided costs and enable mailers to benefit fully from presorting and other activities, further stimulating an increase in the value of mail in the postal system;
- A streamlined process for creating special customized rates for large mailers, or for mailers of any size that process their mail through third parties who make the overall postal system more efficient;
- Specific advance guidance that will allow mailers to understand the new rules and have sufficient time to adapt to future regulatory changes.
The Postal Regulatory Commission finalized these regulations a remarkable eight months ahead of the already-aggressive timetable called for in last year's postal reform legislation. The commission will now turn its efforts to preparing the additional reports and finalizing the other rules the law requires.
"These changes, and others too numerous to mention, are the guidelines the industry has been eagerly awaiting. Chairman Dan Blair, the other commissioners, and the dedicated staff of the Postal Regulatory Commission deserve the thanks of the entire industry for working so hard to establish this framework, and we look forward to continued leadership from these outstanding public servants," Martin said.
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