Communiqué de presse - Universal service

Universal Postal Service

Tariffs for 2017: Arcep invokes adjustment clauses pertaining to volume of mail and inflation

Paris, 29 July 2016

Arcep has issued a favourable opinion on price increases for Universal service letter and parcel distribution products in 2017

The price increases planned by La Poste for 2017 correspond to the third year of application for the multi-annual tariff supervision scheme set by Arcep for 2015 to 2018 in its Decision No. 2014-0841 of 22 July 2014.

Applying the adjustment clauses, Arcep limits the price increase to 3.3%

In light of the price increases imposed in 2015 and 2016, the scheme set out in Arcep Decision No. 2014-0841 allows for a maximum nominal increase of 3.6% in 2017. To take into account the change in the inflation rate, which was below forecasts in 2015, and in the volume of mail, which decreased more rapidly than had been anticipated, Arcep invoked the adjustment clauses, thereby reducing this maximum increase to 3.3%.

This 3.3% increase planned by La Poste for 2017 complies with this maximum price. Arcep takes note of this. For 2018, the maximum allowable price increase, discounting the possible invocation of adjustment clauses with respect to 2016, stands at 1.4% in real terms.

As a parallel measure, as provided for in the above-mentioned decision, Arcep performed a review of the first two years of its application. It also had access to the audited Universal service accounts for 2014 and 2015. It was thus able to observe that:

- The price guidelines set out in the Decision were put into effect. Arcep was especially committed to ensuring that users could exercise a free choice between the Priority letter and the "Lettre verte" (non-priority letter), and that La Poste created a sufficient difference in price. This is why the 2014 decision provided for an increase in the price gap between these two products - an increase that did indeed occur in 2015 and 2016, in terms of both relative and absolute value. The "Lettre verte" product also appears to have reached a degree of maturity and to have stabilised. As a result, Arcep considers that it is now up to La Poste to establish the appropriate balance between these two products;

- On the matter of Universal service, La Poste was able to adjust its costs to a greater than expected decrease in volume in 2015, in a proportion consistent with the hypotheses formulated for the period of supervision. In light of the ongoing decrease in volume, and the fact that the cost of meeting universal service obligations continue to be high, it is crucial that La Poste maintain this ability adapt to current circumstances in the coming years.

Linked documents

Arcep's opinion n° 2016-0981 (pdf - 434 Ko) (pdf - in French only)

Annex of Arcep's opinion n° 2016-0981 (pdf - in French only)