Hawker-turned-motor trader and taxi operator Neo Nam Heng has plugged into the electricity retail business and will compete to sell power to households when the market opens up in April.
Mr Neo, 62, who heads the diversified Prime group of motor businesses, has been retailing electricity to industrial and commercial users since April 2016 under Best Electricity Supply.
Within two years, the company became the third-biggest independent power retailer here, with a market share of 0.6 per cent as at December 2017, according to a report by electricity wholesaler Energy Market Co.
Mr Neo estimates that the total market is worth roughly $9.5 billion a year (with households accounting for $2.4 billion).
"We aim to capture just 3 per cent of the market," he said. "We are very conservative. Anyway, we can't swallow everything."
Liberalisation of the household electricity market will begin with Jurong in April, with a roll-out to the rest of the island from the second-half of the year. There are more than two dozen independent power retailers here, but "fewer than half are active".
Mr Neo plans to offer households discounts of up to 25 per cent, with options for fixed and floating tariff rates. There will also be a scheme which offers free electricity between 9pm and midnight.
The businessman, who started out selling Teochew porridge in the early 1970s before venturing into the motor trade, chanced upon the power business four years ago.
"We had been in a fuel-card business with Shell for two years," Mr Neo said. "The electricity market was liberalised. I thought, if we can do fuel cards, we can also do electricity."
In 2015, Best Electricity was granted a licence by the Energy Market Authority.
Mr Neo said his increasingly diversified group turns over more than $400 million a year - quadruple what it was just a decade ago.
Its nascent power business accounts for just over $40 million, while the fuel-card division - under Best Petrol & Diesel Supply - contributes over $200 million.
The Prime motor group - which deals in parallel-imported cars, used cars, auto financing and taxi operations (under Prime Taxi) - make up the rest.
Mr Neo attributes his success to his huge appetite for risk. In the 1980s, when he was expanding his motor business, he had to take out huge loans.
"I even borrowed from money-lenders at a 24 per cent interest rate," he recalled. "Our total interest payment was $200,000 a month."
Speed was another big factor. "We make decisions fast. We don't have long meetings, consultancy studies or board approvals."
He also credits his team, made up of people "who have stayed for 10, 20 years with me". "If we don't have these people, we could not have been so fast," he said.
Mr Neo, a non-graduate, came from a humble background. His father was a "pirate" taxi driver with seven children (he was No. 3). At 18, the A-level holder got a national service deferment "to help feed my family".
He became a hawker, before starting up his first motor firm Cheng Yong in 1976 with younger brother Lam Pang, 59, "who has been a great support".
In the 1980s, he went into the used car and car rental businesses. In 1993, he started parallel importing cars, notably Mercedes-Benzes.
Like the parallel import industry, which has helped keep car prices competitive here, Mr Neo believes the liberalisation of the electricity market "will introduce competition and bring down prices" for consumers.