The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) offers crucial services for Americans every day—delivering to even the most remote locations across the country. Since the agency is legally obligated to ensure that you get your mail, regardless of where you’re located, unique challenges often arise. Compounding these issues are staffing shortages and budget cuts, which became more complex during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the situation became so dire that President Joe Biden signed a major postal reform bill in April 2022, providing nearly $50 billion in relief over the next 10 years. But while the USPS aims to keep operations running smoothly, on May 5 the postal agency issued a new warning. Read on to learn what the Postal Service said might be “uncomfortable” for customers.
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Mail delays have been rampant due to the USPS’ ongoing struggles, but the agency is implementing strategies to help regain its footing. Unfortunately, this directly affects delivery rates and pricing. New service standards were announced in Oct. 2021, slowing down the timeframe to deliver you First-Class Mail and Periodicals. And in April of this year, two new shipping surcharges were also put in place: Nonstandard Fees and the Dimension Noncompliance Fees, which affected customers trying to ship certain domestic retail and commercial mail.
This month, the postal agency announced it will be slowing down delivery time for even more mail, extending the timeframe by one to two days for nearly one-third of small, lightweight packages. And now, the USPS has yet another warning.
During a meeting with the USPS Board of Governors on May 5, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy stated that the agency will continue to raise postage rates over the next few years.
As reported by Federal News Network, DeJoy said that we should prepare to see postage prices increasing at an “uncomfortable” rate. The Postal Service Board of Governors is responsible for setting postage rates, the Associated Press reported, but DeJoy said he will be pushing for price hikes until the agency has “accomplished our objective of projecting a trajectory that shows us being self-sustaining.”
“While our pricing decisions are ultimately made under the authority of the Board of Governors, in the near term, I will most likely be advocating for these increases,” DeJoy said at the meeting. “I believe we have been severely damaged by at least 10 years of a defective pricing model, which cannot be satisfied by one or two annual price increases, especially in this inflationary environment.”
For the second fiscal quarter of 2022, the USPS reported a net loss of $639 million, Federal News Network reported, which is a sharp increase from an $82 million net loss for the same period in the 2021 fiscal year. However, in the third and fourth quarters of this fiscal year, the USPS anticipates it will begin to see savings brought on by Biden’s Postal Service Reform Act.
The agency has proposed raising mail prices by approximately 6.5 percent, and if favorably reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), changes will go into effect on July 10. This hike includes raising the price to mail postcards and some letters, also raising the price of the First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 58 cents to 60 cents.
The USPS is working toward an on-time delivery rate of 95 percent, and at yesterday’s meeting, DeJoy stated the agency is in “striking distance” of this target, Federal News Network reported. Currently, the agency takes an average of 2.7 days to deliver mail to your home.
“This means the speed to deliver is on average as fast as it was pre-pandemic, pre-first class standard changes—and pre-Louis DeJoy,” he said, as approximately 87.9 percent of mail was delivered on time this quarter.
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