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August 1, 2023

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA-02) and Melanie Stansbury (D-NM-01) led their colleagues in a bipartisan letter to United States Postmaster Louis DeJoy and Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Michael Kubayanda regarding recent changes that have affected PO Box pricing. Over the last six months, there has been increased outcry from constituents whose PO Box rates have skyrocketed without advanced notice.

“We write to express serious concerns over the United States Postal Service’s request to expand the radius for a competitive designation for PO Box service locations to 8 miles, resulting in the redesignation of 291 PO Box service locations as competitive. This redesignation, approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission in Order 6234 on July 21, 2022, has led to egregious and unexpected price increases for consumers. This represents a departure from eleven years of established policy for competitive and market dominant PO Box service locations.  We are concerned by the Postal Service’s lack of community engagement to justify this request. We urge the Postal Service to reconsider this action and ensure that it engages with impacted customers before making such changes in the future,” the members wrote in their letter.

The members went on to request answers to the following questions no later than September 1, 2023:

  1. What, if any, research did the Postal Service conduct with affected customers to support their request?
  2. What, if any, advance notice did the Postal Service provide customers prior to implementing these price increases?
  3. What is the process to redesignate a PO Box service location back to market dominant?
  4. Are there any minimum service requirements (hours of operation, number of customers, accessibility, etc.) for a private sector alternative to trigger a redesignation of a PO box service location?
  5. How does the Postal Service ensure that a private sector alternative remains open and available for customers to use?
  6. If a private sector alternative closes or moves outside the radius, does the Postal Service then redesignate the PO Box service location as market dominant because there is no longer a competitor?
  7. The Postal Service excluded PO Box service locations with less than 250 customers from their request. If any PO Box service locations drop below 250 customers, will the Postal Service change the designation back to market dominant?

In addition to Reps. Huffman and Stansbury, the letter was signed by Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Brittany Pettersen (CO-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Val Hoyle (D-OR-04), and Nick LaLota (R-NY-01).

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