LOS ANGELES, CA — Cold weather and snow storms in the local mountains prompted Southern California Gas Co. Tuesday to ask customers to turn down their thermostats to conserve gas for those most in need.

The “Dial It Down” alert will remain in effect across Southern California until further notice, the gas company said. The critical time of day to conserve energy is during peak demand in the evening. Cold temperatures and low levels of snow put a strain on natural gas supplies, putting people most in need of heating in danger, utility officials said.

Dial It Down alerts are similar to Flex Alerts issued by the California Independent System Operator that call on customers to voluntarily conserve electricity for a specific period of time.

To reduce natural gas use during the alert period, SoCalGas customers can take simple steps, like setting their thermostat to 68 degrees when home and 55 degrees when not home, according to the utility.

Others tips include washing clothes with cold water; taking shorter hot showers; reducing the temperature on water heaters; running only full loads of dishes and clothes; using low-flow shower heads; keeping windows and doors closed when the heater is on; and dressing warmer.

More information on SoCalGas’ Dial It Down alert energy conservation program can be found at socalgas.com/dialitdown.

SoCalGas also noted the activation of its Smart Therm demand response program, a partnership between the utility and participating smart thermostat manufacturers that aims to conserve natural gas during some cold weather events.

When a Smart Therm Event is called, customers who have enrolled in the Smart Therm Program are sent notifications through their smart thermostat, smartphone app or via email — depending on the manufacturer — letting them know that their thermostats will be automatically adjusted for four hours from 5-9 a.m. or from 6-10 p.m.

Customers who enroll in the program agree to allow their smart thermostats to be automatically lowered by as much as four degrees when a Smart Therm Event is called. Program participants are eligible to receive a $50 incentive, plus an additional $25 for staying enrolled through April 1. Customers who enroll in the program can manually adjust their thermostat at any time.