Posti can’t do the impossible

Finnish postal operator Posti has argued that a penalty payment that has been imposed on it by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority is unfounded as in order to meet the regulatory authority’s demands the postal operator “would have to do the impossible”.

In a statement, Posti said: “A penalty payment has been imposed on Posti to insist that it reaches a 99.8% quality level in the five-day delivery of universal service letters, while competitors can freely deliver letters without any obligations. The implementation rate of our delivery services is already over 99%.”

Kaj Kulp, Vice President at Posti’s Mail Services, commented: “In order to comply with the interpretation of the legislation, we would need to do the impossible.”

The FCRA fine will be €100,000 should it not meet the requirements.

According to the Posti statement: “In reality, the 99.8% quality requirement is very tight, in fact impossible. A security of supply of almost 100% means that we should have a stand-by deputy for each employee available immediately upon call. This would increase mail delivery costs considerably, by as much as tens of millions of euros each year.

“If we intend to reach the 99.8% quality level, the resulting extra costs will in fact be paid by Posti’s customers. As a public company, Posti does not receive any support from the state.

“According to the requirement, the percentage of undelivered universal service letters may not exceed 0.2% a month. In practice, this means that for each postal code in Finland, at most only one stamped letter a week can remain undelivered. Annually, about 100 million universal service letters are delivered in Finland.

“Kulp asks why human factors, such as the mail deliverer falling ill or the break down of a sorting machine, are not taken into consideration in the requirement level. Sick leave at Posti amounted to 6.8% of regular working time in September, and the amount varies daily. During the influenza wave in winter, hundreds of mail deliverers can fall ill at a day’s notice.

“We understand that the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority is only doing its job. However, the timing is unusual, because the obligations of universal service are currently being reformed.”

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