Summary of Changes by Class of Mail

First-Class Mail

The new prices are based on the shape of mail and dif­ferences in the relative costs, with separate prices for let­ters, flats (large envelopes), and parcels. As shape becomes a more important price element, weight becomes less important. Consequently, prices for letters over 1 ounce and flats over 6 ounces are reduced from today’s prices.

The single-piece 1-ounce letter price increases 2 cents, to 41 cents, and the single-piece postcard price increases 2 cents to 26 cents. The single-piece 1-ounce price for flats (such as large envelopes) is 80 cents, and the single-piece rate for packages is $1.13 for the first ounce. The addi­tional-ounce price (for all shapes) decreases 7 cents to 17 cents. The maximum weight for flats and parcels remains 13 ounces.

The price incentives provide opportunities for mailers to mitigate the impact of price increases. For the 2-ounce example above, if the contents (documents) of a First-Class Mail® flat are folded and placed into a letter-size envelope, the mailer saves 39 cents. If a parcel’s contents can be reconfigured and mailed as a flat, the mailer saves 33 cents.

The nonmachinable surcharge increases 4 cents to 17 cents and will apply only to 1-ounce letters with any of the nonmachinable characteristics. Nonmachinable letters over 1 ounce are charged the letter prices, based on weight. The maximum weight for letters is 3.5 ounces. The Governors have asked the PRC to reconsider its recom­mendation that limits the surcharge to 1-ounce letters instead of applying it to letters of any weight (up to the 3.5 ounce maximum for letters).

For automation letters, the additional-ounce price decreases 11.2 cents to 12.5 cents. We maintain the 150–piece minimum per presort rate for automation letters and cards. Sort levels are optional for 5-digit/scheme, and required for 3–digit/scheme, 3-digit origin, automated area distribution center (AADC), and mixed-AADC levels. We have eliminated the automation carrier route preparation and prices.

To help reduce the number of “air trays” (partially filled overflow trays) and the overall cost of handling mail in letter trays, we offer a reduced-overflow tray option for automa­tion letters. In addition, to encourage more trays to be filled to capacity, the definition of a “full letter tray” has been changed to one in which the pieces fill the length of the tray between 85 and 100 percent.

Simplified letter mail preparation for machinable letters will be offered, requiring mailers to sort only to the origin 3–digit, AADC, and mixed-AADC levels. To be consistent with Standard Mail® service, the maximum weight for machinable letters is 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound). Letters weighing over 3.3 ounces must be prepared as nonma­chinable letters.

To better ensure automated processing of flat-size mail, all flats will be required to be rectangular in shape. The physical standards for automation flats are the criteria for automated flat sorting machines (AFSM) 100 pieces, with new standards for flexibility and uniform thickness. The deflection standard has also been lessened and simplified.

The structure for presorted parcels includes new work­share prices. The price and sort levels are optional for 5–digit, and required for 3-digit, ADC, and mixed-ADC lev­els. We require at least 10 pounds of parcels for 5-digit/scheme sacks, 3-digit sacks, and ADC sacks. Remaining pieces sorted to mixed-ADC sacks are charged the single-piece parcel prices. Barcodes facilitate processing on the automated package processing system (APPS), and mail­ers will have the option of applying either a 5-digit UCC/EAN Code 128 or a POSTNET barcode on presorted par­cels. Unless prepared in 5-digit/scheme containers or paid for at the single-piece rates, a 5-cent surcharge applies to all parcels that are not barcoded, or that weigh less than 2 ounces, and to irregularly shaped parcels such as trian­gles, tubes, rolls, and similar pieces.