Federal Register: December 3, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 232)
DOCID: FR Doc 02-30539
POSTAL RATE COMMISSION
Postal Rate Commission
DOCUMENT ID: [Order No. 1353]
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice and order on petition seeking a proceeding.
Petition Seeking a Proceeding
DATES: Submit comments by January 30, 2003.
A petition has been filed seeking review of the jurisdictional status of numerous services offered by the Postal Service, such as First Class Phone Cards and Returns@ease. The petition also seeks, for services deemed nonjurisdictional, development of accounting and reporting rules. Although formal action on the petition has been deferred pending completion of a related Postal Service assessment, the Commission is soliciting comments from the public.
Jurisdictional status of services; petition filed,
On October 15, 2002, Consumer Action (CA), a
nonprofit membershipbased organization based in San Francisco,
California, filed a petition requesting the Commission to initiate
proceedings concerning fourteen (14) services (or products) offered by
the Postal Service to the public.\1\ In support of its petition, CA
incorporates by reference a letter it coauthored with the Office of
the Consumer Advocate (OCA) that provides the petitioner's legal
argument and the substantive and procedural relief requested.\2\ In
their joint letter, CA and OCA request the Commission to institute a
proceeding: (1) To review and determine whether the enumerated services
are subject to the Commission's rate and classification jurisdiction
under Sec. Sec. 3622 and 3623 of the Postal Reorganization Act; and
(2) if some services are not subject to the Commission's jurisdiction,
to establish new accounting and reporting rules to ensure a complete
separation of ``nonjurisdictional (domestic)'' costs and revenues from those of jurisdictional services.\3\
\1\ Petition of Consumer Action Requesting that the Commission Institute Proceedings to (1) Review the Jurisdictional Status of Fourteen Specified Services and (2) Establish Rules to Require a Full Accounting of the Costs and Revenues of NonJurisdictional Services, October 15, 2002 (Petition).
\2\ Id. at 3. The joint letter is attached to the petition. \3\ See Joint Letter at 4; see also Petition at 1. The fourteen services identified are: Liberty Cash, Sure Money, Online Payment Services, including eBillPay, Pay@Delivery, and USPS Send Money, ePayments, NetPost CardStore, NetPost Certified Mail, Electronic Postmark, Unisite Antenna Program, Returns@Ease, Mall Package Shipment Program, First Class Phone Cards, and Retail Merchandise. CA and OCA also reserve the right to supplement the list should other such services come to light.
Reasons for Deferring Formal Action
During the Commission's consideration of the petition, the Chairman
received a letter from the Chairman of the Board of Governors noting,
inter alia, that the petition had been filed, that the Board viewed its
assertions very seriously, and that the Postal Service currently is
conducting an evaluation of what is characterized as its ``nonpostal
service offerings.'' \4\ Chairman Rider expressed the hope that, prior
to addressing the request for a formal proceeding, the Commission would
afford the Postal Service an opportunity to comment on the issues and
further that it first be able to complete its internal review.\5\ It is
anticipated that the review will be completed by early January 2003.\6\
\4\ Letter to the Honorable George A. Omas from the Honorable
Robert F. Rider, Chairman of the Board of Governors, November 14,
2002, at 1 (Rider Letter). This letter and Chairman Omas's reply are posted on the Commission's Web site.
\5\ Rider Letter at 2.
The petition and all related correspondence are available on the Commission's Web site, http://www.prc.gov. On the Commission's home page, this material can be accessed by clicking on ``Contents'' and then either on ``Docketed Cases & Matters,'' or on ``Pending Cases & Matters.'' It can be found under ``Other Matters,'' where it is listed separately.
Taking into consideration both the representations in Chairman
Rider's letter and the lack of any statutorily imposed deadlines, the
Commission finds it appropriate to accede to the request to defer
action on the petition pending completion of the Postal Service's
internal review. The brief deferral should not prejudice the
petitioner. Moreover, the scope of the issues raised may be
significantly clarified by the results of the Postal Service's review, which, it is indicated, will ``bear substantially on the
representations in the petition.'' \7\
\7\ Id. at 1.
In the interim, interested persons may review the petition and
advise the Commission on the most appropriate way to proceed. Comments are due by no later than January 30, 2003.
It is ordered:
1. Notice is hereby given of the petition of Consumer Action requesting that the Commission institute proceedings to (1) review the jurisdictional status of 14 specified services and (2) establish rules to require a full accounting of the costs and revenues of non jurisdictional services, filed October 15, 2002.
2. Comments from interested persons concerning how the Commission should proceed with the petition are due no later than January 30, 2003.
3. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this notice in the Federal Register.
Additional Note on Filing Procedure
The comment period on the joint petition coincides with a formal
transition from rules of practice based on traditional hard copy
filing, with an electronic filing option, to mandatory use of the
Commission's Filing Online system, which can be accessed via http://www.prc.gov. See Order No. 1349 in Docket No. RM20021 (67 FR 67552),
recentlyadopted 39 CFR Sec. 3001.9. A User's Guide to the new filing system is also available on the Commission's Web site. The effective date of the switch to mandatory electronic filing is January 7, 2003. Prior to that date, those wishing to comment on the petition may file either hard copy or electronic submissions; on or after January 7, 2003, they should submit comments electronically.
By the Commission.
Issued November 21, 2002.
Steven W. Williams,
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 2027896820.