Looming energy crisis in Europe causes worry among the general public ahead of winter.

As a biting energy crisis pushes up costs throughout Europe, nearly 40% of German citizens believe they will either be unable or struggle to pay their bills this winter, according to a survey.

Some 50% of respondents under the age of 35 polled by German public broadcaster ARD said energy costs will be a major problem this winter.

Germany is among several European states dependent on Russia for their energy needs, all of whom are feeling the pinch as Moscow cuts supplies in response to the sanctions it is facing over the Ukraine war.

In Germany, the annual inflation rate stood at 7.9% in August, the highest in almost 50 years, largely due to soaring energy prices and food costs.

About 58% of the survey respondents with a monthly income of less than €1,500 ($1,495) said they expect to face difficulties paying their winter bills, with the figure dropping slightly to 47% for those earning between €1,500 to €3,500.

Just under 60% of the respondents, however, were optimistic that they would not face electricity or gas shortages in the winter, while 36% were mentally prepared for outages in Germany in the coming months.

Another creeping fear among the German population is being laid off, with some 83% of the respondents, particularly low-income earners and young people, worried about losing their jobs, the survey found.

Meanwhile, Germany appointed a trustee to Rosneft Germany, the German subsidiary of the Russian energy company Rosneft, for the security of energy supplies, the German Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection announced in a statement on Friday.

Rosneft Germany accounts for about 12% of the country's oil processing capacity and is one of the largest oil processing companies in Germany.

The appointment of a trustee is a step against the threat to energy supply security, the German Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection, said in the statement.

France's power cuts

French households may face power cuts of up to two hours if the energy crisis intensifies this winter, the country’s national electricity operator said in a statement.

The RTE presented three scenarios for the coming winter and pointed out that only in the worst-case scenario there might be several hours of power cuts.

During the winter months, RTE envisages a few "red signals" on the EcoWatt online platform, the operator said in its statement.

The EcoWatt is an online platform that shows in real time the electricity consumption in France, and it can also send SMS to consumers, warning them in case of emergency.

The system uses three colors: green (normal), orange (tight electrical system), and red, which means "very tight" situation.

The worst-case scenario means that if the companies' voluntary reductions are not sufficient, households will experience planned power cuts of up to two hours in the evening or early morning during the winter months.

The RTE stressed that in no case would there be a risk of a blackout in France, i.e. a complete loss of control over the power grid.

Meanwhile, French billboard owner Michel-Ange Flori on Friday unveiled his latest poster parody on social media mocking President Emmanuel Macron.

"This winter, the French will shower in the Elysee," it reads, against a photo of the presidential palace, with an oversized shower head as its symbol.

"Note, however, that there is no soap in the palace," Flori commented on the poster.

He was mocking Macron's call for the public to limit their energy consumption, including reducing air conditioning and heating.

Flori's new poster, like the creations before it, is also to be shown on a billboard along a national road between Toulon and La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var department.