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Mail and Distribution

The DOE Mail Center provides a variety of mail services for all official and other authorized mail for the Department of Energy and its employees. The services provided include the processing of all incoming postal mail, outgoing official mail, internal mail processing, accountable mail processing, pouch mail, a variety of overnight express mail services, directory services, and pick-up and delivery services.  

The Mail Management Memorandum (pdf) provides additional guidance and information.

Headquarters Mail Center Locations

Forrestal Building: Room: GL-084
(202) 586-6061
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585

Germantown Building: Room E-066
(301) 903-4111
19901 Germantown Road
Germantown, MD 20874-1290

Click here for mail services points of contact.

Express Mail Services

1. Addressing for Courier and Express Overnight Package Service

  • Most courier services require telephone numbers for both the sender and the recipient on the routing slip. Proper forms must be completed before delivery.
  • Post office box numbers or rural routes are unacceptable addresses for courier, messenger, or specialized delivery services. Post office box numbers (PO Box) are sent thru USPS only.

2. Envelopes, Packaging, and Courier Selection.

  • Envelope contents should be secure and tamper proof.
  • Odd-sized items that require unique packaging should be wrapped and mailed consistent with envelope preparation guidelines.
  • Courier selection depends on the following factors:
    • Delivery destination and actual delivery time needed (65 percent of express overnight mail doesn't need to be at the destination by a specific time).
    • Local, regional, in-state, domestic, or international destination.  Each of these service levels has a different price schedule and not all commercial couriers go to all places within the same time frame.
      Most commercial couriers offer the following delivery times:
      • next morning (10:30 a.m.)
      • by noon
      • by afternoon (by 3:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.) and
      • second business day

3. International courier service may require special documentation or customs declarations.

4. To obtain the best possible discounts or rates, the central mail center will consolidate overnight material to DOE offices outside the area.

5. The customer is responsible for selecting the class of mail appropriate to the type of mail, DELIVERY, PICKUP, AND CUTOFF TIMES.

6. Requests for Saturday deliveries are discouraged because additional charges are incurred. If Saturday service is necessary, ensure that someone will be available to receive the material.

  • Reduce costs by using the U.S. Postal Service priority mail service on Friday for Monday delivery instead of an overnight express service.
  • The following cutoff times are standard for commercial couriers that offer overnight express or second-day service (HQ):
Courier Cutoff Times
Vendor Cutoff Time
Federal Express 2:00 p.m.
Forrestal United Parcel Service 2:00 p.m.
Germantown United Parcel Service 3:30 p.m.
DHL Worlwide Express 3:00 p.m.
Messenger to Local Agencies Call
(202) 586-8600
(301) 903-4330


Outgoing DOE Official Mail

(Mail Services User's Manual, Chapter 3, 4a 1-10)

CLASSES OF MAIL AND U.S. POSTAL SERVICE SPECIAL SERVICES. The postage varies according to the classification of the mail, weight, and location of the delivery point.

a. Classes of Mail.

(1) First-Class Mail. First-class mail includes correspondence, business reply mail, statements of accounts, invoices, etc. It accommodates matter weighing up to 13 ounces and closed against postal inspection. First-class mail receives expeditious handling and transportation and usually is delivered within 1 to 4 days.

(2) Priority Mail. Priority mail accommodates all first-class mail exceeding 13 ounces and up to 70 pounds and, at the option of the mailer, any mail weighing 13 ounces or less. Priority mail is usually delivered within 1 to 3 days.

(3) Periodicals Class. This class accommodates printed matter published at a stated frequency with the intent to continue publication indefinitely. A periodical must show continuity from issue to issue. Continuity is shown by serialization of articles or by successive issues carrying the same style, format, theme, or subject matter. The primary purpose of a periodical must be the transmission of information. Only authorized publishers and registered news agents may mail publications at periodical rates.

(4) Standard A Class. This class accommodates circulars, booklets, newsletters, photographs, catalogs, product samples, and printed matter that weigh less than 16 ounces. Heavier pieces must be mailed as Standard B Class or priority mail. Reduced rates are available for mailing 200 or more pieces. Most Standard A Class mail is delivered within 2 to 10 days.

(5) Standard B Class. This class is the least expensive service available. This service is not available for parcels weighing less than 1 pound or more than 70 pounds. Parcels/packages must measure 108 inches or less in combination length and girth. Most Standard B Class mail is delivered within 2 to 14 days.

(6) Accountable Mail. This is mail that requires special handling, including certified, registered, insured, returned receipts, and U.S. Postal Service Express.

(7) International Mail. This class accommodates items to be mailed to foreign countries. Contact the mail centers for information on preparation, customs forms, and restrictions on international delivery.

(8) Business Reply Mail. This service enables mailers to receive first-class mail by paying postage only on the mail that is returned. Payment of the appropriate first- class postage plus a handling charge per piece is guaranteed.

(9) Courtesy Reply Mail. This service accommodates preaddressed postcards or envelopes provided by the mailer to customers to expedite responses and provide more accurate delivery. It differs from business reply mail in that no fees are required and the respondent is responsible for applying the correct postage before mailing back the card or envelope. Courtesy reply mail may be returned faster because it is prepared with the correct address and bar code to take advantage of automated U.S. Postal Service processing.

(10) Express Overnight Service. This service is extremely reliable and fast. Because it is expensive, it should be used only in the most extreme circumstances and not for intra-city delivery.

Pouch Mail

FIELD POUCH MAIL. Mail is consolidated into a pouch/mail container and sent daily to DOE field sites from the Forrestal and Germantown locations to take advantage of cost reduction programs. This mail should have the complete address of the intended recipient for each site.

Service Standards

All properly addressed incoming regular mail will be processed and delivered unopened to the appropriate mail stops within one day of receipt by the mail centers.

Improperly addressed mail will be looked up and every effort will be made to determine a delivery destination. If a delivery point cannot be determined, it will be returned to the sender. If a return address is not available, the mail leader will open the envelope and determine if and where it should be delivered. If a delivery point cannot be determined, it will be disposed of in accordance with United States Postal Service and Department procedures.

All incoming controlled mail (certified, registered, or insured) will be processed and dispatched in accordance with United States Postal Services and Department directives at the end of each day. Controlled mail received after 3:30 p.m. will be safeguarded and processed for the next dispatch.

Outgoing registered mail is processed and dispatched under United States Postal Services approved combination lock or seal.

Distribution Services

The Distribution Services Team can fulfill all of your distribution requirements. No job is too big or too small. To request distribution services, please call (202) 586-2227.  The Distribution Office is located in Forrestal room GL-084.

The services provided include:

  • Stocking and maintaining publications from DOE Project and Program Managers, legislative material, Congressional material, pamphlets, and information from other Federal Agencies
  • Providing and maintaining computerized distribution lists, which include complete addresses of persons, organizations, and private companies that receive documents printed under DOE authority and/or distributed under DOE authority
  • Folding
  • Sorting
  • Addressing
  • Inserting
  • Metering
  • Establishing and maintaining mail lists=Stocking and selling printed products and supplies

New Distribution Service

Distribution has a new Addressing and Labeling System (ALS). This system provides High-Tech Distribution & Mailing Services and Solutions.  The new services include:

  • Cleans-up mailing lists by identifying non-deliverable addresses
  • Adds Zip+4 and bar codes to mail pieces
  • Helps to expedite mail pieces in the mail stream
  • Pre-sorts mailing lists to capture postal discounts
  • Prints external and internal mailing labels
  • Affixes the address directly on the mail pieces
  • Saves on postage expenditures and delivery time of mail pieces
  • And much more!

Use this link to the Contact Us page for the Mail Operations and Distribution contacts.