With a new year comes new changes for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). New stamp prices set by the delivery agency are expected to commence next month, along with other new shipping rates.
The USPS had announced in a Nov. 28 blog post the new shipping and postage rates would take place on Jan. 22, after applying for permission from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).
As of Jan. 22, stamps for First-Class Mail® single-piece 1-ounce will cost 45 cents, reports the USPS. This brings a book of 20-stamps to $9.00.
These stamps will be "Forever" stamps and previously purchased Forever stamps can be used by customers with no additional postage costs. Postal Centers will be increasing the value of stamp inventory on-hand to reflect the new prices on Jan. 22.
The viability of the USPS has been in long debate with a dismal outlook. For months the USPS has been looking to increase closures of mail processing centers and individual postal offices, which has sparked debate. Recently the agency agreed to defer making additional closures until May and is also looking to drop guaranteed next-day delivery service as a potential cost-saving measure.
However on Dec. 28, the Washington Post reported the USPS relied on questionable data to identify the targeted closures. The PRC said they will challenge USPS analysis.
“We certainly challenge their methodology,” the commission’s chairman, Ruth Goldway, said Wednesday.
Reportedly the USPS's selection process did not consider whether or not alternate post offices were in the vicinity of the closures and which postal office closures would be the best choices to reduce overhead costs.
“They had a simple screening process,” she said. “But it did not optimize the choices. They don’t have really good data that tells them which post offices will continue to grow or be on a downhill path.”
In addition to the USPS looking to close several centers, the agency has a $5.5 billion retirement payment looming that was just recently deferred again.
Last week Digital Journal reported Congress granted the USPS another reprieve until August while regulators try and come up with a solution that will save the cash-strapped agency.
Meanwhile, while regulators and the USPS struggle to find a solution to pull the delivery agency out of the red, mailing a first-class letter will cost consumers a penny more in the upcoming year.