The U.S. Postal Service has temporarily zapped its new Zip.

Instead of zooming into the first phase of the new $887 million nine-digit Zip Code system next month as planned, postal officials have pushed back the preliminary zero hour to June 1, Postmaster General William F. Bolger said yesterday.

Last month anti-Zip senators attempted to hold up some of funds until June so that the efficiency of the new Zip Code system could be studied further. "Consider the horror of poring over almost 20 million Zip Codes listed in a 30,000-page directory -- a directory that is more than 40 times the size of the District of Columbia white pages, weighing in excess of 80 pounds -- to send one letter," said Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.) during debate. Legislation to delay the Zip Code expansion to nine digits but allow the Postal Service to buy necessary equipment was passed unanimously by the Senate, but it was dropped from another bill to which it had been attached.

"In keeping with the spirit of that amendment -- even though it did not become law -- we will continue the developmental work that the amendment not only allowed, but encouraged," Bolger said. "As a result, I think we will have a better program and greater acceptance."

The Postal Service plans to go ahead with purchases of new Zip Code equipment, which postal authorities said also could be used for the old five-digit zip. All households still should be equipped with their additional Zip Codes by October as planned, Bolger said.

Bolger contends the expanded Zip will zoom the more than 105 billion pieces of mail generated yearly to their destinations and control the $250 million weekly Postal Service payroll.