39 U.S. Code § 3622 - Modern rate regulation

(a) Authority Generally.— The Postal Regulatory Commission shall, within 18 months after the date of enactment of this section, by regulation establish (and may from time to time thereafter by regulation revise) a modern system for regulating rates and classes for market-dominant products.
(b) Objectives.— Such system shall be designed to achieve the following objectives, each of which shall be applied in conjunction with the others:
(1) To maximize incentives to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
(2) To create predictability and stability in rates.
(3) To maintain high quality service standards established under section 3691.
(4) To allow the Postal Service pricing flexibility.
(5) To assure adequate revenues, including retained earnings, to maintain financial stability.
(6) To reduce the administrative burden and increase the transparency of the ratemaking process.
(7) To enhance mail security and deter terrorism.
(8) To establish and maintain a just and reasonable schedule for rates and classifications, however the objective under this paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the Postal Service from making changes of unequal magnitude within, between, or among classes of mail.
(9) To allocate the total institutional costs of the Postal Service appropriately between market-dominant and competitive products.
(c) Factors.— In establishing or revising such system, the Postal Regulatory Commission shall take into account—
(1) the value of the mail service actually provided each class or type of mail service to both the sender and the recipient, including but not limited to the collection, mode of transportation, and priority of delivery;
(2) the requirement that each class of mail or type of mail service bear the direct and indirect postal costs attributable to each class or type of mail service through reliably identified causal relationships plus that portion of all other costs of the Postal Service reasonably assignable to such class or type;
(3) the effect of rate increases upon the general public, business mail users, and enterprises in the private sector of the economy engaged in the delivery of mail matter other than letters;
(4) the available alternative means of sending and receiving letters and other mail matter at reasonable costs;
(5) the degree of preparation of mail for delivery into the postal system performed by the mailer and its effect upon reducing costs to the Postal Service;
(6) simplicity of structure for the entire schedule and simple, identifiable relationships between the rates or fees charged the various classes of mail for postal services;
(7) the importance of pricing flexibility to encourage increased mail volume and operational efficiency;
(8) the relative value to the people of the kinds of mail matter entered into the postal system and the desirability and justification for special classifications and services of mail;
(9) the importance of providing classifications with extremely high degrees of reliability and speed of delivery and of providing those that do not require high degrees of reliability and speed of delivery;
(10) the desirability of special classifications for both postal users and the Postal Service in accordance with the policies of this title, including agreements between the Postal Service and postal users, when available on public and reasonable terms to similarly situated mailers, that—
(A) either—
(i) improve the net financial position of the Postal Service through reducing Postal Service costs or increasing the overall contribution to the institutional costs of the Postal Service; or
(ii) enhance the performance of mail preparation, processing, transportation, or other functions; and
(B) do not cause unreasonable harm to the marketplace.
(11) the educational, cultural, scientific, and informational value to the recipient of mail matter;
(12) the need for the Postal Service to increase its efficiency and reduce its costs, including infrastructure costs, to help maintain high quality, affordable postal services;
(13) the value to the Postal Service and postal users of promoting intelligent mail and of secure, sender-identified mail; and
(14) the policies of this title as well as such other factors as the Commission determines appropriate.
(d) Requirements.—
(1) In general.— The system for regulating rates and classes for market-dominant products shall—
(A) include an annual limitation on the percentage changes in rates to be set by the Postal Regulatory Commission that will be equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers unadjusted for seasonal variation over the most recent available 12-month period preceding the date the Postal Service files notice of its intention to increase rates;
(B) establish a schedule whereby rates, when necessary and appropriate, would change at regular intervals by predictable amounts;
(C) not later than 45 days before the implementation of any adjustment in rates under this section, including adjustments made under subsection (c)(10)—
(i) require the Postal Service to provide public notice of the adjustment;
(ii) provide an opportunity for review by the Postal Regulatory Commission;
(iii) provide for the Postal Regulatory Commission to notify the Postal Service of any noncompliance of the adjustment with the limitation under subparagraph (A); and
(iv) require the Postal Service to respond to the notice provided under clause (iii) and describe the actions to be taken to comply with the limitation under subparagraph (A);
(D) establish procedures whereby the Postal Service may adjust rates not in excess of the annual limitations under subparagraph (A); and
(E) notwithstanding any limitation set under subparagraphs (A) and (C), and provided there is not sufficient unused rate authority under paragraph (2)(C), establish procedures whereby rates may be adjusted on an expedited basis due to either extraordinary or exceptional circumstances, provided that the Commission determines, after notice and opportunity for a public hearing and comment, and within 90 days after any request by the Postal Service, that such adjustment is reasonable and equitable and necessary to enable the Postal Service, under best practices of honest, efficient, and economical management, to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the kind and quality adapted to the needs of the United States.
(2) Limitations.—
(A) Classes of mail.— Except as provided under subparagraph (C), the annual limitations under paragraph (1)(A) shall apply to a class of mail, as defined in the Domestic Mail Classification Schedule as in effect on the date of enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
(B) Rounding of rates and fees.— Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the Postal Service from rounding rates and fees to the nearest whole integer, if the effect of such rounding does not cause the overall rate increase for any class to exceed the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.
(C) Use of unused rate authority.—
(i) Definition.— In this subparagraph, the term “unused rate adjustment authority” means the difference between—
(I) the maximum amount of a rate adjustment that the Postal Service is authorized to make in any year subject to the annual limitation under paragraph (1); and
(II) the amount of the rate adjustment the Postal Service actually makes in that year.
(ii) Authority.— Subject to clause (iii), the Postal Service may use any unused rate adjustment authority for any of the 5 years following the year such authority occurred.
(iii) Limitations.— In exercising the authority under clause (ii) in any year, the Postal Service—
(I) may use unused rate adjustment authority from more than 1 year;
(II) may use any part of the unused rate adjustment authority from any year;
(III) shall use the unused rate adjustment authority from the earliest year such authority first occurred and then each following year; and
(IV) for any class or service, may not exceed the annual limitation under paragraph (1) by more than 2 percentage points.
(3) Review.— Ten years after the date of enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act and as appropriate thereafter, the Commission shall review the system for regulating rates and classes for market-dominant products established under this section to determine if the system is achieving the objectives in subsection (b), taking into account the factors in subsection (c). If the Commission determines, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that the system is not achieving the objectives in subsection (b), taking into account the factors in subsection (c), the Commission may, by regulation, make such modification or adopt such alternative system for regulating rates and classes for market-dominant products as necessary to achieve the objectives.
(e) Workshare Discounts.—
(1) Definition.— In this subsection, the term “workshare discount” refers to rate discounts provided to mailers for the presorting, prebarcoding, handling, or transportation of mail, as further defined by the Postal Regulatory Commission under subsection (a).
(2) Scope.— The Postal Regulatory Commission shall ensure that such discounts do not exceed the cost that the Postal Service avoids as a result of workshare activity, unless—
(A) the discount is—
(i) associated with a new postal service, a change to an existing postal service, or with a new work share initiative related to an existing postal service; and
(ii) necessary to induce mailer behavior that furthers the economically efficient operation of the Postal Service and the portion of the discount in excess of the cost that the Postal Service avoids as a result of the workshare activity will be phased out over a limited period of time;
(B) the amount of the discount above costs avoided—
(i) is necessary to mitigate rate shock; and
(ii) will be phased out over time;
(C) the discount is provided in connection with subclasses of mail consisting exclusively of mail matter of educational, cultural, scientific, or informational value; or
(D) reduction or elimination of the discount would impede the efficient operation of the Postal Service.
(3) Limitation.— Nothing in this subsection shall require that a work share discount be reduced or eliminated if the reduction or elimination of the discount would—
(A) lead to a loss of volume in the affected category or subclass of mail and reduce the aggregate contribution to the institutional costs of the Postal Service from the category or subclass subject to the discount below what it otherwise would have been if the discount had not been reduced or eliminated; or
(B) result in a further increase in the rates paid by mailers not able to take advantage of the discount.
(4) Report.— Whenever the Postal Service establishes a workshare discount rate, the Postal Service shall, at the time it publishes the workshare discount rate, submit to the Postal Regulatory Commission a detailed report that—
(A) explains the Postal Service’s reasons for establishing the rate;
(B) sets forth the data, economic analyses, and other information relied on by the Postal Service to justify the rate; and
(C) certifies that the discount will not adversely affect rates or services provided to users of postal services who do not take advantage of the discount rate.
(f) Transition Rule.— For the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this section, rates and classes for market-dominant products shall remain subject to modification in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and section 407, as such provisions were last in effect before the date of enactment of this section. Proceedings initiated to consider a request for a recommended decision filed by the Postal Service during that 1-year period shall be completed in accordance with subchapter II of chapter 36 of this title and implementing regulations, as in effect before the date of enactment of this section.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 109–435, title II, § 201(a),Dec. 20, 2006, 120 Stat. 3201.)
References in Text

The date of enactment of this section and the date of enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, referred to in subsecs. (a), (d)(2)(A), (3), and (f), are the date of enactment of Pub. L. 109–435, which was approved Dec. 20, 2006.
Prior Provisions

A prior section 3622,Pub. L. 91–375, Aug. 12, 1970, 84 Stat. 760; Pub. L. 94–421, § 10,Sept. 24, 1976, 90 Stat. 1311; Pub. L. 105–241, § 5,Sept. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 1573; Pub. L. 106–384, § 1(a),Oct. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 1460, related to rates and fees, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 109–435, title II, § 201(a),Dec. 20, 2006, 120 Stat. 3200.

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39 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

This is a list of parts within the Code of Federal Regulations for which this US Code section provides rulemaking authority.

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39 CFR - Postal Service

39 CFR Part 3 - BOARD OF GOVERNORS (ARTICLE III)

39 CFR Part 6 - MEETINGS (ARTICLE VI)

39 CFR Part 20 - INTERNATIONAL POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 3010 - REGULATION OF RATES FOR MARKET DOMINANT PRODUCTS

39 CFR Part 3020 - PRODUCT LISTS

39 CFR Part 3055 - SERVICE PERFORMANCE AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION REPORTING

 

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