First-class stamp prices could be rising.
Not that you’re using them as much as before.
U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan called Thursday for more flexibility in the Postal Service’s ability to raises prices as the institution continues to hemorrhage losses amid private-sector competition and digital technology that has enabled consumers to increasingly avoid “snail mail.”
Currently, the Postal Service can’t raises stamp prices of traditional mail and marketing mail — packages don’t apply here — beyond the rate of inflation. But the cap is “fundamentally unsuited” to the current business environment given competitive challenges, Brennan said in a call with reporters and analysts Thursday.
The Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency that monitors and regulates the Postal Service, began reviewing in December several parts of the Postal Service’s operations, including the possibility of removing the price cap. Its conclusion is expected in the fall.
“It doesn’t take into account the changes in cost and volume,” Brennan said. “We’re clearly looking for (the commission) to reestablish a new pricing system for us.”
Brennan also urged lawmakers to pass a bill in the House of Representatives that would revise the commission’s standards for changing postal rates and increase first-class stamp prices by a penny. The bill also would loosen a requirement that the Postal Service prefund future retiree healthcare benefits, which it argues imposes onerous financial pressure.
The commission declined to comment on possible changes in pricing.
But the Postal Service’s urgency to boost revenue to keep post offices open, buy new trucks and fund employee retirement was underscored in its third fiscal quarter performance report that showed widening losses.
Net loss for the three-months period totaled $2.14 billion, deepening from a loss of $1.57 billion a year ago.