The cost to send a first-class letter will increase by a penny Monday to 42 cents, and postal patrons trying to save some money are gobbling up the Forever stamps.
Forever stamps came out last year and are good forever, as the name implies.
While the first-class postal rate is what most affects residential customers, prices for other services, such as sending postcards, certified mail and packages, will also increase Monday.
The U.S. Postal Service says part of the reason for this increase is that some consumers asked for it. People would rather have modest regular increases and know about it so they can budget for it, said Maureen Marion, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service for the Capital Region.
She said that mailers asked: “Can you tell us, to some degree, when to expect an increase?”
The postal rates will be adjusted annually each May, and the Postal Service will provide 90 days’ notice before the price changes.
The idea is to try to hold prices as steady as possible and make changes when necessary with a modest increase of about one penny, said Marion.
Marion explained that in December 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was signed by the president, which did several things to restructure the authority of the Postal Service, most importantly allowing it to set pricing directly proportional to the rate of inflation.
“This allows us to respond to changes in the marketplace,” Marion said on Friday. “Our expectation is when there is a need to change rates, we will do this as an annual event.”
The hope is that it will be about a penny increase each year, but this is not fixed and depends on the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
The U.S. Postal Service is part of the infrastructure of many businesses and they must budget for the expenses to mail letters and packages. An annual adjustment of rates seems to be the shipping industry standard, said Marion.
Like the rest of the country, the Postal Service, which has the largest vehicle fleet of any organization in the country, is being impacted by energy costs and must budget accordingly, she said.
Since the latest rate increase was announced, there’s been a run on the Forever stamps, which can be used for full postage after the rate increase. During the past week, the Postal Service has sold 64 million Forever stamps a day.
A Forever stamp sells at today’s current postage rate, but it’s good for first-class postage on a 1-ounce letter whenever it’s used, regardless of the postage rate at that time.
Other old stamps are still valid, Marion said, even decades later. They just aren’t sufficient, by themselves, to mail a letter.
The Postal Service is also changing rates for its other services and shipping on Monday.
The cost to mail a postcard will go from 26 cents to 27 cents. A first-class mail international letter, now 90 cents, will cost 94 cents.
And for the first time, the U.S. Postal Service is offering volume-related and other price incentives for express and priority mail and other shipping services.
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Categories: Schenectady County