Summit Natural Gas of Maine said Thursday that gas is flowing to Fairfield residents who signed up for the alternative energy source, making it the fifth community to receive gas from the company.

In a press release, Summit officials also said Huhtamaki Inc., a tableware manufacturing business straddling the border of Fairfield and Waterville, is running on natural gas. The gas company plans to install 85 miles of distribution through the Kennebec River valley region, including an additional 36 miles in Waterville and Fairfield.

The natural gas has been running at the Huhtamaki manufacturing building since April 1, according to Plant Manager Ray McMullin.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased, this is an important cost saving opportunity,” McMullin said in an interview Thursday.

McMullin said that Huhtamaki had been using liquefied natural gas before switching to pipeline gas under Summit Natural Gas, and the savings have made the manufacturing company more competitive in gaining business and hiring more people.

McMullin said he had hoped the company would have the natural gas by the start of the year, but delays postponed delivery for several months. Even so, McMullin said it was worth the wait.

“As we begin phase two of the Kennebec valley project, we are focusing on our continued commitment to the residential customers in the region,” Mike Minkos, president of Summit Natural Gas, said in the press release.

Fairfield is the fifth community in central Maine to have pipeline connects to Summit Natural Gas, joining Augusta, Gardiner, Hallowell and Waterville. More than 130 residences and more than 25 businesses have signed up for gas services in Fairfield, according to the release. In total, more than 1,800 residential customers and 500 commercial customers have signed up for the gas service, including the city of Augusta, Inland Hospital in Waterville, and Sappi Fine Paper North America in Skowhegan.

Another company, Maine Natural Gas, is building natural gas pipeline mainly in the Augusta area.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239 jscardina@centralmaine.com Twitter: @jessescardina