May 17, 2007

USPS Postage Stamp Prices Raised to $0.41 on May 14th

Sending mom her Mother’s Day card on time was not only a wise decision for family relations but it also saved the sender money. A belated mailing will hit the pocketbook as the United States Postal Service implemented its new fee schedule beginning on Monday, May 14th.

On March 19th, the Governors of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) approved an increase in the price of a First-Class stamp to 41 cents, authorized the issuance of the Forever Stamp, approved shape-based pricing, and set May 14 as the date for implementation of these changes.

USPS proposed the new rates on May 3, 2006, and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued its recommendation on February 26, 2007. The Governors spent considerable time deliberating the PRC’s recommendations — meeting six times and rewriting several drafts of their decision over the next three weeks.

“We praise the PRC for its early and thoughtful recommended decision,” said Board of Governors Chairman James C. Miller III, “and appreciate the comprehensive analysis the Postal Service staff provided in its rate proposal.”

The Governors approved the Forever Stamp, which will sell at the new 41-cent First-Class Mail one-ounce letter rate. The value on these stamps will always be the one-ounce letter rate and can be used for any future one-ounce letter mailing without extra postage.

“The Forever Stamp is a consumer innovation that delivers convenience and value and will help ease the transition for mailing letters when prices change,” said Miller.

The new prices also reflect differences in the costs of handling letters, large envelopes (flats), and packages. Mailers are encouraged to consider options available to reduce postage costs. For example, if the contents of a First-Class large envelope are folded and placed in a letter-sized envelope, mailers can reduce postage by as much as 39 cents per piece.

The Board of Governors also delayed until July 15, 2007, implementation of the new prices for periodicals (magazines and newspapers) to allow time for the publishing industry to update computer software and adjust to the complexity of the PRC-recommended rate structure for periodicals. USPS had proposed a single container charge for periodicals to encourage efficiency, but the PRC recommended 55 different prices based on container type, entry point, and level of sortation.

The Postal Service has nine Governors who are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. They are members of the Board of Governors, which also includes the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General. Only the Governors can approve a PRC rate case recommendation, but the full Board sets the implementation date for the new prices.

An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that visits 146 million homes and businesses, six days a week. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to cover its operating expenses. The Postal Service has annual revenues of $73 billion and delivers nearly half the world’s mail.

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