Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference
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Association of United States Postal Lessors Arlington, Virginia Conference. Current Regulatory Concerns Mark Acton Postal Regulatory Commissioner May 21, 2010. Summary of Contents USPS Plan: Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service Change in Frequency of Delivery: 6 to 5 days

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Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

Association of United States Postal LessorsArlington, Virginia Conference

Current Regulatory Concerns

Mark Acton

Postal Regulatory Commissioner

May 21, 2010


Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

Summary of Contents

USPS Plan: Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service

Change in Frequency of Delivery: 6 to 5 days

Exigent Rate Case

Annual Compliance Determination

Nature of Service Case: Facility Closings

Postal/Nonpostal Litigation: USPS vs. PRC

Pension Cost Special Study

USO/Value of Societal Benefits

*** AUSPL ***


Usps envisioning america s future postal service

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

  • March 2, 2010 -- Postal Service unveils plan

    • Concerted Government Affairs/Public Relations Initiative

  • Mail volume will fall: 177 B pieces (2009) to 150 B (2020)

  • No action -- cumulative shortfall of $238 billion by 2020

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Usps envisioning america s future postal service1

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

  • As much as $123 billion in savings during that same time period through aggressive cost cutting and increased productivity

  • Even so, “Estimated $115 billion shortfall will remain.”

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Usps envisioning america s future postal service2

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

What is the USPS Action Plan?

  • Further cost cutting and ramped up productivity, and

  • Regulatory and legislative changes

    • Restructure RHB payments and address overpayments to CSRS fund

    • Adjust delivery days to “better reflect current mail volumes and customer habits”

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Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

What is the USPS Action Plan?

  • Continue to modernize customer access

    • provide more convenience to customers (USPS presence in grocery stores, pharmacies, retail centers)

    • Increase customer access through business partnerships, self-service kiosks and usps.com website

  • Establish more flexible workforce

    • over 300,000 employees become eligible to retire in the coming decade

    • Accomplish workforce adjustment through attrition; not lay-offs

*** AUSPL ***


Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

What is the USPS Action Plan?

  • Ensure prices of Market Dominant products are based on demand rather than capping prices for every class at the rate of inflation

    • Abandon the price-cap regulation of PAEA and replace with a strictly market driven pricing approach

  • Permit USPS to introduce more new products consistent with its mission, so it can respond to customer needs and compete more effectively in marketplace

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Usps envisioning america s future postal service3

USPS: “Envisioning America’s Future Postal Service”

What is the USPS Action Plan?

  • Exigent price increase will be proposed effective in 2011

    • More on that

*** AUSPL ***


Change in delivery frequency 6 5 days

Change in Delivery Frequency: 6-5 days

  • March 30, 2010: USPS filed request with the Commission for an Advisory Opinion [39 U.S.C. 3661(c)] for the elimination of Saturday delivery

  • “A change in frequency, not a change in service”

    • Discontinue Saturday residential and business delivery/collections

    • Post Offices usually open on Saturday remain open

    • No mail pick-up from blue collection boxes

*** AUSPL ***


Change in delivery frequency 6 5 days1

Change in Delivery Frequency: 6-5 days

  • Key Exceptions:

    • Delivery of Express Mail

    • Delivery to P.O. boxes

    • Remittance mail (bill payments) to P.O. boxes and Caller Service

    • Acceptance of drop-shipping of destination bulk mail continues

    • Firm hold outs (mail that businesses pick up at the Post Office) would be available

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Change in delivery frequency 6 5 days2

Change in Delivery Frequency: 6-5 days

  • PRC is “watchdog agency” protecting USPS’s Universal Service Obligation to Nation

  • One of the most significant changes the Postal Service has ever presented to the Commission

  • Advisory Opinion could take 6 months or more (September/October, 2010)

    • No statutory deadline

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Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

Change in Delivery Frequency: 6-5 days

  • Public, on-the-record PRC hearings and proceedings will analyze and cross-examine USPS proposal and supporting evidence

  • During the process, mail users and interested members of the public may offer supporting or opposing views, both informally and as part of more formal, technical presentations

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Change in delivery frequency 6 5 days3

Change in Delivery Frequency: 6-5 days

  • Field Hearings: The Commission will conduct 7 field hearings

    • Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago, Memphis, Las Vegas, Buffalo and Rapid City, SD are the locations for field hearings

    • Field hearings schedule: Posted on www.prc.gov

  • Solicit public comments via our website

    • Response to date has been exceptional

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An exigent rate case

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • “Exigency” has its root in Latin, and refers to a “demand”

  •  Exigence/or exigency: Demand, want, need, imperativeness. Something arising suddenly out of current events; any event or occasional combination of circumstances calling for an immediate remedy; a pressing necessity; a sudden and unexpected happening or an unforeseen occurrence or condition -- Black’s Law Dictionary

  • “Exigency” has yet to be defined by the Commission

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An exigent rate case1

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • Setting the cap:

    • The Commission determines the price cap for any 12-month period by calculating the ratio of two 12-month CPI averages that are 12 months apart, subtracting one, and expressing the value as a percentage

  • For a more detailed explanation of the calculation of the price cap please see 39 CFR §3010.21, or the PRC rules at:

    http://www.prc.gov/prc-docs/home/PAEA/FinalRulesWeb.pdf

*** AUSPL ***


An exigent rate case2

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • CPI-U price-cap trend:

    2.9% December 2007 (R2008-1cap)

    3.8%December 2008 (R2009-1 cap)

    0.356%December 2009

    0.482% through April 2010 …

    please see http://www.prc.gov/PRC-DOCS/home/CPI.pdf

    • Prepared by Postal Regulatory Commission

    • Last Update: 5/19/2010

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An exigent rate case3

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • On March 2, 2010 the Postmaster General suggested it would be necessary for USPS to file with the Commission for an exigent rate increase to take effect in January 2011

  • USPS customarily files rate adjustments in twice the required timeframe prior to implementation of new rates

    • Here, 90 days x 2 = 6 months

    • Near July, 2010 in this case

*** AUSPL ***


An exigent rate case4

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • USPS proposal must: (39 USC 3622(d)(1)(E))

    • Describe the exigent circumstances and show why they necessitate the increase

    • Show that the proposed rates are reasonable and equitable, and

    • Describe circumstances under which the increases could be rescinded or reduced

*** AUSPL ***


An exigent rate case5

An Exigent Rate Case (?)

  • PRC will establish a docket, provide for public comment and conduct a hearing on the record

  • Interested parties are encouraged to participate on the record and to suggest relevant questions to the PRC that might be posed during the course of these hearings

  • Commission will issue its decision within 90 days of the USPS filing

    • Deadline set by law

*** AUSPL ***


Fy 2009 annual compliance determination

FY 2009 Annual Compliance Determination

  • FY 2009 financial results call into question USPS future ability to continue to provide fundamental services

  • Despite $4 billion in legislative relief from obligation to prepay RHB, the Postal Service ended FY 2009 with a $3.8 billion loss.

    • Postal Service anticipates losses near $7 billion in FY 2010

  • The economic recession and Internet substitution caused significant volume declines

    • but losses resulting from the rates charged for certain major classes of mail are indicative of structural problems as well

*** AUSPL ***


Fy 2009 annual compliance determination1

FY 2009 Annual Compliance Determination

  • Decrease in mail volume of 25.6 billion pieces, or 13.5 percent, from FY 2008

    • largest percent decrease since the Great Depression

  • Second consecutive year of decline in Total Factor Productivity despite eliminating 115.3 million workhours

  • Decrease of 9.5 percent, $6.8 billion, in operating revenue

  • 14 market dominant products and services failed to cover attributable costs -- losing $1.7 billion in aggregate

*** AUSPL ***


Nature of service case facility closings

Nature of Service Case: Facility Closings

Advisory Opinion: USPS “Station and Branch Optimization Consolidation Initiative” 2009

  • 39 USC 3661(c): The Commission shall not issue its opinion on any proposal until an opportunity for hearing on the record under sections 556 and 557 of title 5 has been accorded to the Postal Service, users of the mail, and an officer of the Commission who shall be required to represent the interests of the general public. The opinion shall be in writing and shall include a certification by each Commissioner agreeing with the opinion that in his judgment the opinion conforms to the policies established under this title

*** AUSPL ***


Nature of service case facility closings1

Nature of Service Case: Facility Closings

Advisory Opinion: USPS “Station and Branch Optimization Consolidation Initiative” 2009

  • USPS: review more than 3,000 stations and branches nationwide for possible closure

    • USPS alone has the authority to close postal facilities, regulator’s interest is limited to Due Process

  • USPS: As of February 2010 only 162 locations remain under review

    • This number may not rise to concern “of national scope,” but USPS plan is to be applied on a national scale

*** AUSPL ***


Nature of service case facility closings2

Nature of Service Case: Facility Closings

Advisory Opinion: USPS “Station and Branch Optimization Consolidation Initiative” 2009

  • Hosted Field Hearings:

    • Independence, OH

    • Bronx, NY

  • PRC: input from the public in hearings and written submissions before reaching its conclusions

  • Lessors’ advocate Mario Principe participated through written submissions, oral testimony and proceedings at the Commission.

*** AUSPL ***


Nature of service case facility closings3

Nature of Service Case: Facility Closings

Advisory Opinion: USPS “Station and Branch Optimization Consolidation Initiative” 2009

  • Commission findings go to proper due process:

    • 10 days advance customer notice insufficient

      • limits opportunity for customer consultation

    • Inconsistent financial and operational analyses impair evaluations of facility closures and consolidations

    • Standardized review procedures should be developed and consistently applied nationwide to ensure adequate and efficient service levels and comply with statutory guidelines

*** AUSPL ***


Postal nonpostal litigation prc vs usps

Postal/Nonpostal Litigation: PRC vs. USPS

  • USPS and PRC held differing views regarding some aspects of the postal/nonpostal categories of products and services as provided for in PAEA

  • The agencies’ dispute centered on the PRC’s regulatory authority over non-postal services such as sale of philatelic items, product licensing, and leasing of property

*** AUSPL ***


Postal nonpostal litigation prc vs usps1

Postal/Nonpostal Litigation: PRC vs. USPS

  • Although the PRC had determined that the services should be allowed to continue, subject to the Commission’s regulation, the USPS challenged the PRC’s authority provided under PAEA

  • On March 30, 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Commission’s interpretation of the law

*** AUSPL ***


Prc review of postal service retiree health benefit fund liability

PRC Review of Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund Liability

Background:

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) each have developed estimates of Retiree Health Benefit Costs:

    • Both used reasonable financial principles

    • Each support different actuarial payment schedules

    • Estimates assumed different inflation trend rates. Both used static trend rates (not more commonly used graded trend rate)

    • The studies used different estimates of USPS workforce

    • Finally, the OPM and OIG estimates reflected different rates of return on assets

    • Estimates differed by $57 billion in terms of full liability

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Prc review of postal service retiree health benefit fund liability1

PRC Review of Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund Liability

  • Request by Chairman Stephen F. Lynch, Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives

    • Requested on June 15, 2009

    • PRC presented its report to the Subcommittee July 30, 2009

    • Consultant was Mercer Health and Benefits LLC

  • Annual Payments to Achieve 73% Funded Status:

    • OPM:$5.5 billion

    • OIG:$1.7 billion

    • PRC:$3.4 billion

*** AUSPL ***


Upcoming issues special study ss2010 1 usps csrs pension funding

Upcoming Issues:Special Study (SS2010-1)USPS CSRS Pension Funding

Background:

  • USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report released January estimates USPS overpaid CSRS by $75 B

  • IG estimates that if the overcharge was used to prepay the Postal Service’s health benefits fund, it would fully meet all of the Postal Service’s accrued retiree health care liabilities and eliminate the need for the required annual payments of more than $5 B

    • “Also, the health benefits fund could immediately start meeting its intended purpose -- paying the annual payment for current retirees, which was $2 billion in 2009”

*** AUSPL ***


Upcoming issues special study ss2010 1 usps csrs pension funding1

Upcoming Issues:Special Study (SS2010-1)USPS CSRS Pension Funding

  • 39 USC 802(c): The Commission, upon request of USPS, promptly procures service of an actuary qualified to evaluate pension obligations to conduct a review in accordance with generally accepted actuarial practices and principles and provide a report to the Commission containing the results of the review

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Upcoming issuances special study ss2010 1 usps csrs pension funding

Upcoming Issuances:Special Study (SS2010-1)USPS CSRS Pension Funding

  • Per USPS request of February 23, 2010, PRC established Docket SS2010-1 to conduct a review of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension liability of USPS

    • PRC received 3 bids in response to recent solicitation

    • The Segal Company (Eastern States) is engaged, by contract executed May 3. The PRC will review their report and deliver findings to Congress and USPS

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) responsible for calculating the Postal Service’s CSRS pension liability

*** AUSPL ***


Upcoming issuances uso value of societal benefits

Upcoming Issuances:USO / Value of Societal Benefits

  • The Commission is considering supplementing its 2008 Report on Universal Postal Service and the Postal Monopoly

    • PRC has engaged a consultant to assess the range of societal benefits of Postal Service

    • The consultant targeted eight broad categories and offers metrics to quantify societal benefits in those categories

    • This provides a possible outline for a more in-depth investigation estimating the “societal” value aspect of the universal service obligation to our Nation

    • A Request For Proposals posted May 7 at “FedBizzOps”

      (www.fbo.gov)

*** AUSPL ***


Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

On March 2, 2010, the Postal Service unveiled a thoughtful and comprehensive ten-year plan to address what would otherwise be ever-growing deficits. The Commission looks forward to participating actively with the public and Congress in the exploration of the Postal Service’s retiree healthcare benefit funding, pension funding, strategies to reduce costs and improve customer service, and opportunities to expand products and services. We will also continue to provide regulatory oversight of the Postal Service on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

-- Chairman’s letter,

FY 2009 Annual Compliance Determination

*** AUSPL ***


Association of united states postal lessors arlington virginia conference

www.prc.gov

*** AUSPL ***


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